A British passenger who posed for a photo with the EgyptAir hijacker during a six-hour standoff has hailed “the best selfie ever”.
Health and safety expert Ben Innes, 26, posed grinning for a snap with Seif Eldin Mustafa as he was held hostage on a plane in Cyprus.
He was one of four Britons on the jet when it was forced to divert to Cyprus by a man wearing a fake suicide belt.
The plane was carrying at least 55 passengers, including 26 foreigners, on a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo.
After posing for the photo, Innes was later seen running across tarmac at Larnaca airport as Mustafa disembarked the plane and surrendered to police.
Speaking to The Sun, Innes said of the photograph: “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.
“I figured if his bomb was real I’d nothing 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.”
He is said to have approached Mustafa while being held hostage on the tarmac, and sent the photograph to one of his flatmates as well as other friends.
A foreign office spokeswoman said officials were providing consular support to four British nationals who were on board.
The alleged hijacker was arrested minutes after some of those being held were seen walking down the stairs of the plane, with another escaping through a cockpit window before they were led away by security officers.
EgyptAir said Cypriot authorities at the airport had confirmed “the explosive belt that the hijacker allegedly said that he was wearing is fake”.
Officials said early on the hijacking was not an act of terrorism, and later that the man appeared to be psychologically unstable.
The man was said to have initially asked to speak with his Cypriot ex-wife, who police brought to the airport.
At one point he demanded the release of women held in Egyptian prisons, but he then dropped the demand and made others.
An official at Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs said: “He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid. This guy is.”
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