The hijacking of a EgyptAir flight that forced it to be diverted to Cyprus has ended. The Cypriot authorities say all hostages were released or escaped unharmed before the alleged hijacker surrendered to the police. EgyptAir said Flight MS181, operated by an Airbus A320 airliner, was carrying 63 passengers and crew from Alexandria to Cairo when it was taken over by a male passenger claiming to be wearing a suicide explosive belt. After the incident ended, the belt was found to be fake.
The Cypriot authorities have stated that the hijacking was not related to terrorism and that the alleged hijacker, named by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa, an Egyptian national, wanted to talk to his estranged Cypriot wife who lives on the island.
Groups of hostages were seen to leave the aircraft throughout the morning via a set of mobile steps parked at the forward passenger door. Shortly before the alleged hijacker surrendered, a small group of people were seen to exit the aircraft, one of whom climbed through the co-pilot’s side window.