Egypt plane drama ends: hijacker arrested, passengers freed
An Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane during a domestic flight to Cairo, and forced it to land on the island of Cyprus yesterday, has surrendered and was taken into custody after he released all the passengers and crew unharmed.
His surrender ended an hours-long standoff at Larnaca airport on the island nation's southern coast. The hijacker had earlier freed most of the passengers but kept on board seven people, four crew members and three passengers.
The man's motivations were unclear, but officials said the hijacking was not terrorism-related, and that the hijacker had tried to communicate with his Cypriot ex-wife, who lives on the island.
Just minutes before the arrest, local TV footage from the airport showed several people disembarking from the aircraft and a man who appeared to be a crew member climbing out of the cockpit window and sliding down the side of the plane.
Alexandros Zenon, the permanent secretary of the foreign ministry in Cyprus, confirmed the hijacker's surrender and subsequent arrest, saying the situation was "over". Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister, Sharif Fathi, told state television that "all passengers and crew are safe".