Airplane hijacker surrenders in Turkey

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Pegasus Airline plane

A Pegasus Airline flight carrying 178 passengers was hijacked today by a man named Mehmet Gökşin Göl. The plane took off from the town of Diyarbakır and headed toward Istanbul, Turkey's most populated city.

Göl later gave himself up and surrendered to authorities at Ankara international airport in Turkey. Reports say he was attempting to divert the flight to Iran and that he is suffering from a mental illness.

All passengers are safe and have been removed from the plane and there are no reports of injuries.

The man, identified as Mehmet Gökşin Göl, entered the cockpit and threatened to blow up the plane, claiming to have an explosive device on board, Ankara Deputy Governor Hayati Soylu said. The man was not armed and did not have explosives.

He was detained at Ankara's Esenboğa airport where pilots landed the Pegasus airline flight, which was going from Diyarbakır to Istanbul.

There were 178 passengers on board, including three babies, the airline said. None of the passengers were hurt.

There was no information as to why the man wanted to divert the plane to Iran.

Fırat Keleş, a passenger on board, told a Turkish television network that the man could be seen reading the Koran during the flight. There was no panic on board, he said.

This incident occurred six months after a man hijacked a flight en route to Istanbul in October 2006.