Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico’s public safety secretary, said Jose Mar Flores, a 44-year-old Bolivian man, told investigators he hijacked Aeromexico Flight 576 after a divine revelation.
Flores said that he had “had a revelation that Mexico was facing a great danger, and was threatened by an earthquake”, according to Luna.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was seized in the beach resort of Cancun and flown to the capital, Mexico City, where it landed safely.
Flores, speaking to reporters after he was detained, said he took control of the aircraft with a fake bomb – “a juice can with some little lights I attached” – and held passengers and crew on the tarmac for more than an hour.
He told police that his action was prompted by the realisation that the date – 9-9-09 – is the satanic number 666 upside down.
It was not immediately if the other individuals who were arrested had assisted in the seizure of the jet.
The Mexican attorney general’s office said it would investigate the incident but did not say how many people would be charged.
The airport remained open throughout the incident, although flights were suspended.
One of the passengers who was released from the aircraft told Mexican television she had not realised the flight had been hijacked until the plane landed at Mexico City.
“We realised it was a hijack when we saw the police trucks,” Adriana Romero said.