Libyan passenger plane diverted to Malta in "potential hijack situation"

A Libyan passenger plane carrying 118 landed in Malta on Friday after being diverted in a hijacking, according to Reuters. The plane, an Airbus A320, was originally bound for Tripoli.

"The pilot reported to the control tower in Tripoli that they were being hijacked, then they lost communication with him," an unnamed Libyan security official told Reuters. "The pilot tried very hard to have them land at the correct destination but they refused."

The Times of Malta reported that two hijackers had been aboard the flight and had claimed to have a hand grenade. The hijackers reportedly also claimed to be part of pro-Gaddafi group Al Fatah Al Gadida and said they would allow all passengers, save for seven crew members, to deplane if their demands — which are not known at this time — were met. 

The outlet stated that passengers began exiting the plane around 1:50 p.m. local time, with priority to women and children.

All other Malta International Airport flights have been canceled or diverted for the time being.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wrote in an earlier tweet that he'd been briefed on the situation and that authorities and emergency operations were "standing by." 

According to a report from the Associated Press, Malta airport security has dispatched all emergency teams to address what they are referring to as an "unlawful interference."

Dec. 23, 2016, 8:20 a.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

When cops kill, paying their victims' families can be a cold, calculating process, attorneys say

Black lives are often seen as having less monetary value in the eyes of the law.

Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17-year-old transgender girl, killed in Georgia

Barrin, 17, wanted to be a model.

Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol destroyed

The suspect appears to have broadcast the crash on Facebook Live.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care vote, Charges in Laquan McDonald shooting, U.S. image

The important stories to get you caught up for Wednesday.

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.

When cops kill, paying their victims' families can be a cold, calculating process, attorneys say

Black lives are often seen as having less monetary value in the eyes of the law.

Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17-year-old transgender girl, killed in Georgia

Barrin, 17, wanted to be a model.

Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol destroyed

The suspect appears to have broadcast the crash on Facebook Live.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care vote, Charges in Laquan McDonald shooting, U.S. image

The important stories to get you caught up for Wednesday.

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.