Sixty five people have now been allowed to get off a hijacked Libyan passenger plane, which has touched down in Malta. After doors of the plane were seen opening at 1.44pm, and a staircase was moved to the door to passengers could get off, the Maltese prime minister has now comfirmed that 65 people have left the aircraft.
None of them were carrying any luggage with them and it currently remains unclear how many people will be allowed off by two reported hijckers, who are understood to have seized control of the plane while it was on an internal flight through Libya. There are understood to be 118 people on board, including seven crew members.
Hijackers onboard the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 craft are believed to be claiming to have hand grenades and had threatend to blow up the plane if their demands were not met.
Discussions between Malta and Libya
According to a spokesperson for Joseph Muscat, the Maltese Prime Minister, the premier has already been involved in discussions with his counterpart in Libya, Fayez Serraj, about the developing situation.
Libya has been in a predominantly lawless state since the death of Moammar Gadhafi five years ago. The hijackers are understood to be Gadhafi supporters. The plan took off in Sabha and was meant to be heading through to the capital Tripol when hijackers forced the pilot to divert.
Currently, it has not been made public what their demands are. However, it is understood that the hikackers had promised to allow passengers to get off if their demands were met. Negotiators have been on standby at the airport awaiting instructions from their prime minister following discussions with the National Security Committee.
All flights in and out of the popular tourist destination have been cancelled while officials continue to deal with the developing situation.