Unbelievable story of British man who took selfie with a terrorist hijacker on a flight
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A British man who posed next to an alleged plane hijacker in a now-legendary photo opened up about the incident.
You may not recognise the name Ben Innes, but it's a fairly safe bet you'll recognise the photo of him taken onboard the plane, where he was being held hostage - but what's the story behind the picture?
Well, it kicked off back in 2016, when Innes was onboard an Egyptair flight - number MS181 - flying from HBE Airport, Alexandria to Cairo Airport that was hijacked by a man who appeared to be wearing a suicide belt.
Thankfully, the flight was diverted and landed safely Larnaca airport, Cyprus, with all 56 passengers, members of crew and a member of the airline's security team.
Upon landing, all but three passengers and four crew were released.
Among those kept on the plane kept hostage by the hijacker - named by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa - was Innes, who decided to get a photograph taken with him. But why?
During that time, while negotiations were underway between officials and the alleged hijacker, Innes decided to get a photograph with Mustafa which later went viral.
His motive? Not because he particularly wanted to commemorate the moment or was a fan of the person he asked to take a photograph with, but partly because he wanted 'a chance to get a closer look' at the supposed explosive device.
In an interview with The Sun, Innes admitted he's not completely 'sure why [he] did it'.
The Brit continued: "After about half an hour at Larnaca I asked for a photo with him as we were sitting around waiting. I thought, why not?
"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 to lose anyway, so took a chance to get a closer look at it."
Innes explained he got one of the cabin crew to translate for him to ask the alleged hijacker if he could take a selfie.
"He just shrugged OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap," Innes says. "It has to be the best selfie ever."
Mustafa surrendered to authorities after the five-hour stand-off.
He was sentenced to life in prison by an Egyptian court in 2019, charged with intimidation and threats to seize a plane and abduct its passengers for a terrorist purpose.