Instead of fearing for his life, Ben Innes from Leeds decided to take a selfie with the man holding him and others hostage on an EgyptAir plane.
— Paul Smith (@Journo_Paul) March 29, 2016
“I’m not sure why I did it, I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity,” he said afterwards. “I figured if his bomb was real I’d nothing to lose anyway, so took a chance to get a closer look at it.
“I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him. He just shrugged OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever.”
Seif Eldin Mustafa hijacked an EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo. He demanded the plane land in Cyprus, where it stayed on the tarmac. Innes said:
I could see he had what looked like a bomb and I was scared, but he didn’t seem particularly anxious as we first landed.
He eventually let virtually all the passengers leave, but I was left behind with two other Brits.
After about half an hour at Larnaca I asked for a photo with him as we were sitting around waiting. I thought, ‘Why not? If he blows us all up it won’t matter anyway.’
I also thought it would be a way to see whether his device was real. I could see something taped around his waist and he was holding on to some kind of a trigger.
It was hard to be sure, but I reckoned it was more likely to be fake after I got a close look at it.
So I decided to go back to my seat and plot my next move.
After they landed in Cyprus, he issued “what seemed like incoherent demands.” They included seeing his ex-wife, a Cypriot citizen. He also allegedly demanded “to see an EU official and may have raised the issue of political prisoners in Egypt.”
But authorities in Cyprus and Egypt have laughed off the man’s attempts.
“He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid. This guy is,” said one Egyptian official.