Air Traffic Controller Behind Belarus Ryanair Diversion Goes Missing

Air Traffic Controller Behind Belarus Ryanair Diversion Goes Missing

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In May, the government of Belarus made global headlines for forcing a Ryanair plane bound from Greece to Lithuania to divert to Belarus. While it was claimed that a bomb threat was called in for the flight, in reality it seems like there was another motive.

A Ryanair plane was forced to divert to Minsk

Specifically, an outspoken critic of the Belarusian dictator was onboard the flight, and he just happened to be arrested during this diversion. This is being called a state-sponsored hijacking, and Belarus has faced all kinds of sanctions as a result of this incident, and the national airline has been banned from flying to many countries. The government’s defense has been downright bizarre, blaming this on… Hamas. Well, there’s now an interesting update regarding one of the main characters in this story.

Oleg Galegov was the air traffic controller who ordered the Ryanair jet to divert to Minsk, and he and his wife have gone missing. They apparently haven’t been seen by anyone since last month (or at least anyone who is willing to share where they are), their phones have been disconnected, and their social media accounts have been taken down.

The Ryanair diversion to Minsk, Belarus

It goes without saying that Galegov probably has a lot of knowledge of the incident. Presumably he wasn’t the mastermind of this plot, but rather was following someone else’s orders. It’s anyone’s guess if he had knowledge of the motivation behind this, or if he was simply blindly following orders (and the bomb threat was passed off as real to him). Regardless, I think it goes without saying that his knowledge of the diversion would prove useful to investigators.

While the air traffic controller lived in Belarus, he was initially from Georgia, so it’s anyone’s guess whether he decided to flee, or was somehow taken into custody by the Belarusian government to make sure he didn’t share the knowledge he had of the incident.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about what happened to Galegov. Hopefully he’s okay, and we get a positive update at some point.

Bottom line

The air traffic controller who directed a Ryanair plane to divert to Minsk over a fake bomb threat has allegedly been missing for quite a while. Presumably he has quite a bit of information, so it’s not known for sure if he decided to escape Belarus (knowing he was a key witness to what happened), or if something else happened.

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  1. Raleigh Truitt

    A small correction on the mode by which the plane wound up in Belarus. It was not "forced" so much as "cajoled" into diverting. The crew could have ignored the controller and proceeded on to their destination, and there was nothing the controller could have done about it! However, it would be hard to place blame on the crew for complying in view of the controller's "information" that the bomb would detonate over Vilnius.

    1. Matthew Ballard

      Initially the pilots did try to ignore the directions and continue on, but Belarus sent a fighter jet, so they then had to choose between potentially being shot down or ignoring directions. I would call that forced...

  2. Chris Jensen

    Hmmmm…. same kind of thing happens to our former Potus” buddies political problems, except they leave the bodies on a park bench.

  3. Chris Jensen

    Hmmmm.... same kind of thing happens to our former Potus'' buddies political problems, except they leave the bodies on a park bench.

  4. Morgan

    I hope he and his wife are ok, but if he did flee - good idea.

  5. Dennis

    I guess many times when we hear about people going missing, we often think the worst. But there is the flip side in that the people in question might decide for themselves to go underground, as it were. For their own safety and peace. Hopefully this man and his family are ok.

    1. Eskimo

      How long you think you can hide from people who are powerful enough to divert a commercial airliner so they can arrest one political prisoner without caring about consequences.

      Dead person can't talk.

  6. VitaliU

    I read in Belarusian media that he is back in Georgia. It was a smart move to disappear though

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VitaliU

I read in Belarusian media that he is back in Georgia. It was a smart move to disappear though

Matthew Ballard

Initially the pilots did try to ignore the directions and continue on, but Belarus sent a fighter jet, so they then had to choose between potentially being shot down or ignoring directions. I would call that forced...

Raleigh Truitt

A small correction on the mode by which the plane wound up in Belarus. It was not "forced" so much as "cajoled" into diverting. The crew could have ignored the controller and proceeded on to their destination, and there was nothing the controller could have done about it! However, it would be hard to place blame on the crew for complying in view of the controller's "information" that the bomb would detonate over Vilnius.

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