Updated: March 30, 2016 4:12:59 pm
Benjamin Innes, a Brit from Leeds, had the courage to get in the same frame with his captor. One of the captives of the hijacked EgyptAir flight who was also among the last to be freed, Innes just walked up to the hijacker Seif al-Din Mustafa and asked him if he could get a picture with him. Mustafa, who claimed to be wearing a suicide vest, shrugged OK.
“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,” the 26-year-old told The Sun who got the cabin crew to translate and asked him to take the snap too.
Reportedly, Innes’ friends and family are not surprised with his act at all and describe him as “a wild man and this is totally in character for him. He was a big rugby guy and very into his banter and didn’t have much respect for authority.” He even texted his mother Pauline informing her of the events who warned him against catching any sort of attention of the hijacker. “I didn’t know how to tell her I’d already done a selfie with the hijacker,” he said.
It was also a way for Innes to take a closer look at the bomb to check if it 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,” he said.
The picture has inevitably gone viral and Twitter can’t stop talking about it.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) 29 March 2016
I gotta admit: Getting a selfie with your hijacker is top-shelf.
— Ryan G. Reynolds (@RyanReynolds) 29 March 2016
— Charlie Kenward (@Kenners_mirror) 29 March 2016
This has to rank as among the weirdest things anyone’s ever done – thing a selfie with your plane’s hijacker pic.twitter.com/gwV2M5eDoB
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) 30 March 2016
so an Egypt Air plane got hijacked yesterday and one of the passengers took a selfie with the hijacker… no lie… pic.twitter.com/OguicRmx4F
— abdul (@Advil) 29 March 2016
between the call of duty coffin and the guy taking a selfie with an airplane hijacker, i think i’m done. i’ve had enough. all of it. done.
— Alex Navarro (@alex_navarro) 29 March 2016
All the passengers were eventually released from the plane and the hijacker was arrested by the Cyprus police. Officials said the incident cannot be linked to terrorism and that the hijacker simply wanted to meet his ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus.