All 109 passengers on board a hijacked Libyan airliner en route to the capital, Tripoli, were released Friday, hours after two men claiming to be carrying explosives forced the plane to divert to Malta, the island’s prime minister said.
Here is how the event unfolded:
8.15pm: Hijackers of Libyan plane surrender, searched and taken in custody, tweets Malta PM.
8.12pm: Malta PM says that the final crew members are leaving the aircraft with hijackers.
8.04pm: Libya plane hijackers asking for asylum in Malta, says minister
7.54pm: Hijacker tells Libyan TV he is head of Pro-Gaddafi party
7.25pm: Muscat said a total of 109 passengers had been released from the hijacked Libyan plane which landed in Malta on Friday. Two hijackers and some crew members are still believed to be on the plane.
6.29PM: Passengers have begun disembarking from hijacked aircraft, reports AP
6pm: The office of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says the premier has spoken to his Libyan counterpart, Fayez Serraj, about the hijacking of a Libyan plane.
5.15pm: The hijacker told crew he was “pro-Gaddafi” and that he was willing to let all 111 passengers leave the Airbus A320, but not its seven crew, if his demands were met, the Times of Malta said.
5.12pm: It was unclear what the demands were or whether the hijacker was acting alone. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising in 2011, and the country has been racked by factional violence since.
5.10pm: Malta state TV says two hijackers on diverted Libya plane have hand grenades and threatening to blow up aircraft .
5.08pm: Tripoli confirms hijacked Libyan plane diverted to Malta.
5.05pm: The Malta airport authority said all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site of what it called an “unlawful interference” on the airport tarmac.
4.46pm: Maltese government sources told AFP there were 118 people on board the plane, including seven crew.
4.45pm: “Informed of potential hijack situation of a #Libya internal flight diverted to #Malta. Security and emergency operations standing by - JM,” Malta’s PM tweeted from his official account.