New Delhi: Two men who hijacked a Turkish passenger plane to protest against the US surrendered to authorities after holding some crewmembers and passengers hostage for more than four hours.
The hijackers claiming to have a bomb and to be members of al-Qaeda hijacked a Turkish passenger plane heading from northern Cyprus to Istanbul on Saturday.
The hijackers had asked that the plane be diverted to Iran or Syria but the pilots landed the plane at Antalya airport, near Turkey's Mediterranean coast, said Tuncay Doganer, CEO of the private Atlas-Jet airline company.
Most of the passengers managed to escape from the rear exit of the plane while the hijackers were releasing the women and children from the front exit, passengers who left the aircraft told private NTV television.
Doganer said only crew and ''a small number'' of passengers were left on board. CNN-Turk television said two crew, possibly the pilots, and nine passengers were still inside. One passenger who was not identified said anti-terror teams had surrounded the plane.
''I hope that the standoff will end in a short period of time,'' Doganer said.
Passengers said there were two hijackers on board and that they spoke Arabic between themselves.
Doganer would not reveal the identity or nationality of the hijackers.
Doganer said there were 136 passengers on board when the plane left Ercan airport in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus at 6:45 a.m. (0345 GMT). The plane landed at Antalya airport about an hour later.
One passenger, Erhan Erkul, told NTV television that the hijackers ran toward the cockpit shortly after takeoff, tried to break down the door but failed.
''They claimed to have bombs,'' Erkul said.
Erkul said the hijackers were from al-Qaeda, but another passenger said the hijackers did not make any announcement about who they were.
A woman, who was not identified, said the hijackers allowed the crew to serve water to the passengers, promising that they would not hurt them.
Airline company says hijackers of Turkish passenger plane have surrendered.
(With agency inputs)