Here’s Why That Guy Posted For A Picture With The EgyptAir Hijacker

Filed Under: Media, Videos

Earlier in the week an EgyptAir flight scheduled to fly between Alexandria and Cairo was hijacked, and subsequently diverted to Cyprus. As it turns out, the hijacker’s ex-wife lived in Cyprus, and apparently he wanted to see her. Fortunately all the hostages were released and everyone was safe, other than the hijacker, who I assume will be serving some jail time.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the hijacking was the photo a smiling passenger took with the hijacker. It’s not everyday you see a hostage asking for pictures with a hijacker, especially while the hijacking is still in progress.

I assume I’m not the only one who was wondering why on earth he was doing that… and it seems we now have an answer. Ben Innes, the British passenger in the photo, appeared in a BBC interview explaining why he posed for a photo with the hijacker:

For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, it basically boils down to:

  • Taking the picture was a conscious decision to try and take some control and influence their situation best he could
  • The hostage wanted the hijacker to understand that he wasn’t a threat, and that if he needed to be in the hijacker’s space at a later time, the hijacker would feel comfortable around him
  • The hostage wanted to see if the bomb might be real or fake, even though he has no expertise one way or another
  • If worst comes to worst, he wanted his family and friends to know he died how he lived, making the best of every situation

I’m not sure I totally follow the logic, though I also can’t imagine how he must have felt being on a hijacked flight. So I certainly give him the benefit of the doubt, given the very unenviable situation he was in.

Regardless, it’s interesting to hear firsthand from the hostage on a hijacked flight!

What do you make of his reasoning of asking the hijacker for a picture?

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

  1. the picture was taken by a crew member upon request by the captain. The goal was to have as many inconspicuous images taken that could be sent via social media to have the local police forces have more information on the terrorist. This is why it is not a “selfie” but the guy pretended it to be. I read this on UK news sites.

  2. I won’t defend this guys actions because frankly what he did was ridiculous, but I will recount a little story… I was in the WTC on 9/11. I was in tower 2 which was the second tower to be hit (about 15 min after WTC1 was hit). My office faced WTC1 on the opposite side where the plan went in. The plane crashed through the entire floor (multiple floors actually) such that I could see a gaping hole in the building. I watched a number of people jump to their death to escape the raging fire going on inside.

    You want to know what I did next? Right after I called my wife to let her know I was OK, I called my dentist who I had an appointment with later that day to let him know that I would not make it to my appointment that day. I left a voicemail on his machine (yes there were still answering machines back then) telling him that there was a plane crash at the WTC and I would have to cancel.

    What is my point? It is simply that when you find yourself in a traumatic situation, you are often not thinking clearly. I think the guy was doing some after the fact justification in the interview above, but in a way I kind of understand how he could have ended up in that situation because in times like that, you are very often not thinking rationally.

    If you want to read a full account of my 9/11 story you can do so here:

  3. Not advocating any sort of heroism here, but one thing that this “could” have done is also provide law enforcement a visual of the suspect. Again, I’d let them do their job but what a world we live in.

  4. I think that it was a good idea. What else can you do when you are being held hostage on a hijacked plane?

  5. I think the guy was actually kind of smart for doing this. Being a passenger, he had no idea of the hijacker’s real intentions. Maybe he was thinking if he befriended him, the hijacker might think twice about doing something stupid that might hurt his “new friend”. Just a touch of humanity in the mind of the hijacker… Worth a try!

  6. Actually a good idea as it shows the device strapped to the hijacker. Apart from the visual of the hijacker himself, the image of the weapon could have been very useful if the worst had happened.
    I agree it is a way of taking psychological control, or at least going some way to ascertaining the state of mind/malleability of the hijacker. Also a distraction allowing other passengers/crew opportunity to possibly set up defensive measures.

  7. A number of years ago I was in Tokyo and a “tout” started pestering me for block after block, not leaving me alone. I finally lost it and spun around, knocking his arm off my shoulder and in the process I knocked the alcoholic beverage out of his hand. He got angry at me and a couple of his friends joined him. I’ve honestly never been so afraid in my entire life. They demanded that I go into a 7-11 and buy him another drink. Once inside, I had this weird thought – I travel to meet people different than myself – so I said, “as long as I’m buying for this guy, do you other guys want anything too?” What followed was a 15 minute conversation about leaving Ghana due to lack of opportunity and how the Japanese treat them like crap, but it’s better than being home.

    I’m not sure a selfie is the best way to engage with a hijacker. But anyone who is going to hijack an airplane is going to have a story – very likely with more humanity than might be expected.

  8. “If you want to read a full account of my 9/11 story you can do so here”

    Well, it’s a better link than autoslash dot com, I guess.

    The main reason he did it was probably the same reason most people take selfies/pictures of this nature…narcissism.

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