GENEVA, February 17 (RAPSI) – The man whose attempted hijack of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that resulted in a forced grounding  in Geneva on Monday faces up to 20 years in prison, a representative of Geneva prosecutor’s office told RIA Novosti.

A Boeing 767-300 en route from Addis Ababa to Rome signaled a hijacking alert and then landed in Geneva at 6am local time.  All of the 200 passengers and crewmembers are reportedly safe.

The hijacker was reportedly the plane’s copilot, who locked himself inside the cockpit and seized control of the plane while the pilot was using the restroom. After the landing he surrendered to the police and asked for asylum in Switzerland.

“This is a very serious crime. It is too early to say what the sentence will be like. We must make the motive clear, but a crime as grave as a airplane hijack carries the liability of up to 20 years in prison,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told RIA Novosti.