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Hailemedehin Aberra Tagegn, Ethiopian Airlines’ co-pilot that forced ET-702 flight bound to Rome, Italy to land in Geneva last Monday, is to remain in Swiss custody pending further investigation. The Swiss court has appointed him a defense counsel.
“We don’t really have much information. What we know now is that Hailemedehin is to remain in custody until further investigation is conducted and that the Swiss government has appointed him a legal councilor,” Endalamaw Aberra Tagegn, Hailemedehin’s older brother, told Capital.
He also said that if found necessary, the family will hire a defense lawyer for Hailemedehin.
According to reports, the co-pilot took over the plane locking out the Captain who went to the washroom from the cockpit. Latest information indicated that severe turbulence had shocked the passengers before the plane safely landed in Geneva, refuting allegations that those on board of the flight were not aware of the situation.
ET stated on Monday that it is making “immediate arrangements to fly its esteemed customers on-board the flight to their intended destinations,” with no further comments. Accordingly, reports indicate that the passengers have been flown out to Rome.
“There has not been a formal communication between us (families of the co-pilot) and Ethiopian Airlines so far,” Endalamaw said.
Meanwhile, his family said that they suspect that Hailemedehin has a psychological problem though he has never been properly diagnosed. “Now that we look at the situation, we do believe that he has a psychological problem. Some media have reported that his mental situation was caused because of the recent death of a family member, that may be a small contributing factor but it is not the reason,” Endalamaw explained.
A lot of speculation about the incident was made he said, which has disturbed his family. “I believe it would be good if the media waited until there is detailed information about the situation. We are also planning to release a statement shortly,” he added.
In a related development Ethiopian Airlines received the 2013 “GOLD Level Boeing Performance Excellence Award” for its outstanding performance at the Wire Kits Harness Manufacturing Plant. This is the second Gold award the plant has received from Boeing. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance.
Ethiopian established the aircraft wire production plant in July 2009. “Obtaining Gold level Boeing performance excellence award is a testimony of Ethiopian high standard and capabilities in the skill driven aviation industry. The pursuit of excellence is not just a hallmark of our wire kits harness manufacturing plant. It is also the defining characteristic of Ethiopian and the bedrock of its continued success in all areas of its global operations,” said CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.