EgyptAir hijack drama: How it unfolded

March 29, 2016 12:00 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 05:06 am IST - CAIRO

An EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus on Tuesday but the passengers and crew were freed unharmed and the hijacker, whose motives remained a mystery, was arrested after giving himself up.

This is how the drama unfolded:

5.36 pm: Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the hijacker was an Egyptian national who had asked to meet European Union officials or to fly on to another airport. Mr. Ismail told reporters that authorities would question the hijacker to ascertain his true motives, which remained a mystery. “At some moments he asked to meet with a representative of the European Union and at other points he asked to go to another airport but there was nothing specific,” he said. (Reuters)

5.30 pm: Cyprus official says hijacker of EgyptAir plane has been arrested and the situation is “over”.

5.29 pm: It’s over. The hijacker arrested, tweets Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

5.24 pm: Egypt Prime Minister said Egyptair hijacker was Egyptian, had asked to meet EU officials, go to other airports. (Reuters)

5.21 pm: The suspected hijacker of an EgyptAir airliner surrendered to authorities on Tuesday, Cyprus's state broadcaster said. The hijacker emerged from the aircraft with his hands in the air, state TV said. (Reuters)

5.18 pm: Hijacker emerging from aircraft with hands held up, Cyprus Broadcasting reports

5.16 pm: Local TV: 7 more people get off hijacked Egypt plane, man seen climbing out of cockpit window. (AP)

4.10 pm: Cairo airport has delayed the departure of a New York-bound airplane due to security fears related to a hijacked EgyptAir aircraft diverted to Cyprus, said two security officials. Earlier the Cyprus state broadcaster reported that the hijacker had demanded the release of female prisoners in Egypt, where the government is facing an Islamist militant insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula. (Reuters)

4 pm: Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry on Tuesday identified the hijacker of an EgyptAir flight forced to land in Cyprus as Seif Eldin Mustafa in a tweet. It did not provide further details.

“The situation is still ongoing,” it said. Earlier, two Cypriot broadcasters reported the hijacker had dropped a letter on the apron of Larnaca airport that appeared to be demanding the release of prisoners in Egypt.

Eygptian state media had earlier identified the hijacker as a different man. (Reuters)

3.30 pm: Cyprus state broadcaster reports hijacker asking for release of prisoners in Egypt, reports Reuters

3.00 pm: Egypt civil aviation minister says 7 people remain on plane with hijacker — 4 crew and 3 passengers: AP

2.10 pm: Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says Egypt plane hijacking not related to "terrorism": AP

2:00 pm: EgyptAir hijacker is professor of Veterinary medicine at Alexandria University, according to university website, Reuters reports

1:31 pm: Flight-tracking website official says EgyptAir plane showed no signs of distress

1:30 pm: Cyprus Broadcasting reports hijacker may have personal motives, has an ex-wife in Cyprus

01:20 pm: Egyptian media identifies one hijacker of EgyptAir plane as Ibrahim Samaha: ANI

01:15 pm: Egyptian hijacker is an Egyptian national, says Egyptian state news agency: AP

01:05 pm: Cyprus official says 56 people on board the hijacked EgyptAir plane have been released and have left the aircraft

12: 50 pm: EgyptAir says negotiated release of all aboard hijacked plane except four foreigners and the crew- @EgyptAir

12:47 pm: Between 30 and 40 passengers of hijacked EgyptAir plane released in Larnaca: Cyprus state media

12:43 pm: Cyprus foreign ministry Secretary General says hijacker has indicated intention to free a certain no. of passengers

12:40 pm: Cyprus foreign ministry Secretary General tells French TV that the hijacker is yet to make demands.

12:30 pm: The hijacker is thought to be strapped with explosives, Cyprus broadcaster CYBC said on Tuesday.

12:22 pm: A Cypriot official said that the hijackers have allowed women, children to leave. A few passengers are now disembarking

12:15 pm: A Cypriot government official says the hijacked plane landed on Tuesday morning at the airport in Larnaka and that there are suspicions of a bomb on board.

12:10 pm: A second Cypriot official says there “seems like there’s more than one hijacker.” He says there have been no demands other than that police vehicles move away from the aircraft. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

12:08 pm: The statement from the Egyptian aviation authority says the MS181 is an Airbus and that it has 55 passengers on board and five crew members.

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