• It is not only stupid but risky for a man or a woman to hijack a plane in a bid to reunite with an ex-partner.

    One man has this morning (March 29, 2016) proved that he is stupid and probably courageous enough to hijack a plane with hopes of uniting with his ex-wife in Cyprus. But his hopes were cut short.

    Earlier today, news rented the air across the globe with information that an EgyptAir flight was hijacked and diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus.

    According to the Cypriot authorities, the hijacker, identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, has since been arrested and hostages released

    An EgyptAir official said that the flight number MS181 was heading from HBE airport (Borg El-Arab Airport in Alexandria) to Cairo Airport when it was forced to divert its course. The official also confirmed that the Airbus A320 had 56 passengers on board in addition to 7 crew members and one security member.

    Although the Cypriot president Nikos Anastasiades had earlier ruled out terrorism as a motive, the incident begs the question how prepared are crew and the air marshal in dealing with such incidents? Could they have been able to detect the suicide belt he claimed to have worn and detained him immediately?

    Gwyn Topham, of the Guardian, noted that: “should the hijacker prove to be armed, or to have smuggled aboard the “suicide belt” that he was claiming to wear, there will be more difficult questions for airport authorities to answer.”

    Officials in Cyprus have said, however, that the supposed suicide belt won by the hijacker was not real. This does not anyway mean the threat was any less dangerous.

    In contrast, Philip Baum, author of Violence in the Skies: A history of aircraft hijacking and bombing, said: “Generally it’s up to the captain of the aircraft to determine whether they have someone with suicidal intent. Obviously, first, you’d try to overpower them if so. But if they feel it could be managed by following his demands, a landing without anyone being hurt, then that’s what you’d do.”

    In a news conference, president Anastasiades said that the hijacker diverted the plane in hopes of reuniting with an ex-wife who apparently lives in Cyprus.

    “It’s all to do with a woman,” he said. “We are doing everything to release the hostages.”

    Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said that the man also asked to meet with "a representative of the European Union."

    Although the president noted that the hijack was motivated by a desire to contact his ex-wife, officials said later that the man was seeking the release of some female prisoners in Egypt, and to speak to EU officials.

    The foreign ministry of Cyprus described the hijacker as ‘psychologically unstable’. “He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot,” it argued.

    Image credit: Getty Images