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EgyptAir flight MS181 hijack ended with all passengers freed

The hijacked plane remained on the tarmac at Larnaca throughout the morning while Cypriot security forces took up positions around the scene.

The passengers and crew of the EgyptAir flight MS181 which was hijacked yesterday are freed and unharmed. Eighty-one people, including 21 foreigners and 15 crew, were on board the Airbus 320, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

According to Reuters, conflicting theories emerged about the motives of the hijacker, an Egyptian. A senior Cypriot official said he seemed unstable and the incident did not appear related to terrorism. The Cypriot state broadcaster said he had demanded the release of women prisoners in Egypt.

After the aircraft landed at Larnaca, negotiations began and everyone on board was freed except three passengers and four crew, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fethy said. Soon afterwards, Cypriot television footage showed several people leaving the plane via the stairs and another man climbing out of the cockpit window and running off.

The hijacker then surrendered to authorities.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the hijacker had threatened to blow himself up and demanded that the aircraft be refueled and head to Istanbul.

“It looks like he realized his demands would not be met, allowing the last two hostages, Britons, to flee the aircraft. He also tried to leave, running out. He was arrested,” said Kasoulides.

“The explosives on him were examined. They weren’t explosives, but mobile phone covers.”

Statement on EgyptAir flight MS181 by Egyptian Minister of Tourism
Commenting on the EgyptAir flight MS181, attempted hijacking, H.E. the Minister of Tourism, Yehia Rashed stated:

“Earlier this morning there was an attempted hijack of EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo. All passengers and crew are safe and the attempt ended peacefully with Cypriot officials arresting the individual concerned.

“We congratulate the EgyptAir Captain and his crew for landing the plane safely and for putting the safety of the passengers as a priority, in a highly professional manner and in accordance with international aviation standards.

“The Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, was personally involved in helping to resolve this incident and EgyptAir is currently taking the necessary steps to bring back all passengers involved.

“We are assured by passengers on the flight that all security measures at Borg El Arab Airport were fully implemented.

“Egypt’s top priority is always to ensure the security and well-being of all travellers at all times.”

EgyptAir delayed a New York-bound flight from Cairo onto which some passengers of the hijacked plane had been due to connect. Fethy said it was delayed partly due to a technical issue but partly as a precaution.

The hijacked plane remained on the tarmac at Larnaca throughout the morning while Cypriot security forces took up positions around the scene.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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