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Man who posed for selfie with plane jacker explained why he did it

Ali Condon

| Last updated 

A Brit who infamously took a selfie with an alleged plane hijacker has explained why he decided to do it.

In 2016, Ben Innes was one of the 56 passengers onboard an Egyptair flight from HBE Airport, Alexandria to Cairo Airport when it was hijacked by a man who appeared to have a suicide belt on.

While cabin crew tried to negotiate with the man, named by officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa, Ben got up out of his seat and asked Mustafa for a photo.

There was a five-hour standoff at Larnaca airport. Credit: BBC
There was a five-hour standoff at Larnaca airport. Credit: BBC

Mustafa reportedly diverted the plane to Larnaca, Cyprus so that he could see his ex-wife who lived there.

When the plane landed, all but four passengers and the flight crew were allowed to disembark from the aircraft.

Ben, who was 26 at the time of the incident, was one of those four passengers who had to stay onboard for five hours while negotiations were ongoing.

Thankfully, Ben and his fellow passengers all got off the plane safely in the end, but the question on everyone's lips was the same: Why did he take a selfie with the hijacker?


In initial interviews, Ben admitted that he wasn't 'sure why [he] did it,' and described it as a moment of being 'cheerful in the face of adversity.'

Speaking to The Sun, he proudly announced: "It has to be the best selfie ever."

The alleged hijacker claimed to be wearing an explosive suicide belt. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/ Touch The Skies
The alleged hijacker claimed to be wearing an explosive suicide belt. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/ Touch The Skies

Since then, Ben has spoken to ABC News about what was going through his head when he decided to get up and speak to Mustafa.


In that interview, he insisted that he had thought the whole thing through, and thought taking a photo with the hijacker would help

"I don't speak Arabic. The majority of the interaction was taking place in Arabic," he explained.

"In order for me to get a better understanding of the situation and to engage with this person, I thought of several ways in which I could further interact with him, of which taking a selfie was one."

He continued: "Believe me, it was a very thought-through process.


"I wanted to interact with the hijacker. I wanted him to understand that I was a human, I was doing human things, that I wasn't just a nameless, faceless victim. That I was a real, living person.

"I also wanted to get a better look at the device, at him. I needed to understand if he had any other weapons, if there were any other hijackers I hadn't seen who were with him."

Asked if he had any regrets in calling it 'the best selfie ever', Ben replied: "In terms of regret, I have no regrets whatsoever about my actions on that airplane."


He added that he also did it for his mum, who was on board the plane with him, and had urged him not to do anything that might have drawn attention to him.

"I explained to her that there was a whole host of reasons that I wanted that picture to be taken.

"Not least so she knew that if I died, I died unafraid. And I died how I lived. Unfazed, unchallenged, and enjoying whatever situation I'm in to the best of my ability."

Mustafa is reported as having surrendered to authorities after the five-hour stand-off.

The alleged hijacker's suicide belt was found to be fake and the president of Cyprus resolved it was not a terrorist incident despite Mustafa's motives remaining unknown.

Topics: News, UK News, World News, Social Media

Ali Condon
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