August 26, 2008

Hijacked Sudanese Plane Landed in Libya Due to “Humanitarian Considerations”

Text of report by state-owned Libyan TV on 26 August

[Newsreader] Sources from the Libyan civil aviation authorities said that primary information about the Sudanese hijacked plane which landed this evening at the Al-Kufrah airport to the south- east of Libya indicate that the plane had originally taken off from the Sudanese Niyala airport with 95 passengers on board.

The sources told the Al-Jamahiriya News Agency's (Jana) correspondent that the Sudanese civil aviation authorities indicated that the airplane, a Boeing 737-200, is registered in Sudan. The sources said that they are in constant touch with the Sudanese civil aviation authorities.

Jana was informed that a Libyan civil aviation team was promptly dispatched to the Al-Kufrah airport in order to closely monitor the situation and provide humanitarian assistance to the passengers.

The Sudanese Civil Aviation Board issued a statement indicating that the plane had left Niyala airport at around 1730 Sudan local time, on a scheduled flight #611 bound to Khartoum with 87 passengers on board in addition to eight crew members. The statement said that the plane was hijacked 30 minutes after take-off and that the hijacker demanded its flight path diverted to Cairo and then to Al-Kufrah airport in Libya where it safely landed at 1940 Sudan local time. The Sudanese board also stated that intensive contacts are now being made with the Libyan civil aviation authorities with regards to this issue.

Libyan aviation sources said that the authorities granted permission to land in Al-Kufrah airport for humanitarian considerations after the leader of the revolution [as heard, title given usually to Al-Qadhafi, newsreader said it instead of plane captain out of habit since both terms involve "Qa'id", Arabic term for leader] informed the airport officials of his low-fuel situation.

Originally published by Libyan TV, Tripoli, in Arabic 1941 26 Aug 08.

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