The man accused of hijacking an Egyptian plane and diverting it to Cyprus did not enter the cockpit during the six-hour long ordeal, the pilot of the aircraft said yesterday.
Egyptian Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa is accused of using a fake suicide belt to force the Alexandria-to-Cairo flight to divert to Cyprus on Tuesday, and has been remanded into custody in Cyprus.
He said he acted out of desperation to see his ex-wife and children who live in the eastern Mediterranean island.
“Immediately after the hijacking, I asked the security officer to stay at the door of the cockpit and not leave,” EgyptAir pilot Amr al-Gamal told reporters in a meeting organised by Egyptian authorities.
Systems that lock a cockpit door have existed since the 1980s and strict procedures became standard after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“Our main fear was that the hijacker may enter the cockpit, or that he knew how to fly a plane or use it to explode”, said co-pilot Hamad al-Qaddah.
Mostafa released most of the 55 passengers soon after the plane landed in Larnaca, Cyprus. Hours later he surrendered to police.
Cypriot police say Mostafa - described by officials as “psychologically unstable” - faces possible charges of hijacking, kidnapping, reckless and threatening behaviour, and breaches of the anti-terror law.
For the crew it was a six-hour-long emotional drama that saw a British passenger taking a photograph with Mostafa and a co-pilot escaping by jumping out of a window of the cockpit.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Escaped Irani prisoners back in jail amid coronavirus epidemic
Kuwait reports first coronavirus death
UN warns Libya vulnerable as country suffers first virus death
Iran hits out at US as death toll passes 3,000
Hezbollah asserts role in Lebanon’s virus battle
Nigerians stranded as regions close doors
Rouhani: US has lost opportunity to lift Iran sanctions amid coronavirus
Iran reports 141 new virus deaths, raising total to 2,898
Coronavirus cases in Palestine rise to 117