Nightly News   |  February 07, 2014

How Pilots Thwarted Hijacker on Turkish Airline

While spectators were filing into the Olympics opening ceremony, few had any idea a hostage drama was underway.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as the big scare had arrived as the opening ceremony was under way, a man hijacked a plane and ordered it to fly to sochi . while it now turns out he may have been in an altered state and there never was a bomb on board it speaks to the hair trigger in the entire region. richard engel has that story tonight, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian, imagine if the plane had had been diverted to sochi during the opening ceremony while the world is watching, a stadium full of vips and don't forget this entire area is full of anti-aircraft missiles. but in the end it was averted. as spectators filed in to the opening ceremony few had any idea a hostage drama was under way. that a hijacker was trying to divert a passenger plane their way. a turkish boeing 737 800 carrying 300 passengers took off for a flight to istanbul . but once in the air, a ukrainian man claimed he had a bomb and diverted the plane to sochi . passengers took cell phone videos they say showed the hijacker in a red and white jersey . but it may have been cool thinking by the pilots that averted a major crisis. the pilots stayed calm, pretending to cooperate, telling the hijacker they were heading to sochi , while continuing on to istanbul . they turned on the in-flight map system so the hijacker could not see where the plane really was, and over the black sea at night it would have been hard to identify any landmarks. when the plane entered turkish air space , the pilots tripped an alarm alerting the officials on the ground. two f-16 fighters scrambled, surrounding istanbul where it was surrounded by security.

>> this was textbook response from the flight crew to keep them under control and get the aircraft to safety. and also the turkish authorities so that even if this turned out to be nothing, they were prepared.

>> reporter: the suspect, reportedly drunk, was taken into custody, bound on a stretcher. no bomb or weapon was found. the officials believe he was acting alone. the turkish police identified the man as hazlof from the ukraine, they are investigating his background, but so far nothing suspicious.

>> reporter: richard engel from the olympic