• Chidozie Uzoezie

Hijacked Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 Lands in Malta

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 performing flight 8U209 from Sebha to Tripoli with 118 passengers and crew has safely landed in Malta after it was hijacked.

Reports indicate that two hijackers who claimed to be pro-Gaddafi were on board the flight and threatened to blow up the plane with grenade.

However, the hijackers reportedly said they were willing to let all passengers go apart from the crew, if their demands were met. It was not known what their demands were at the time of this publication.

Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat had earlier tweeted of a potential hijack situation of an internal Libyan flight diverted to Malta. Security and emergency operations were standing by.

Flight 8U209 had left Sabha in south-west Libya for Tripoli at 10.10am. It was scheduled to arrive at 11.20am, but was instead diverted to Malta International Airport, where it landed at 11:32am.

In a statement, the Malta International Airport confirmed the incident saying all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site. "All emergency teams have been dispatched to the site. Passengers are advised to follow for updates." the statement added.

Meanwhile Malta International Airport authority has cancelled all outbound flights while inbound flight were being diverted to Catania until further notice.

The last major hijack incident in Malta took place in November 23, 1985 when an EgyptAir Boeing 737 plane was diverted to the island.

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