CAIRO — An Egyptian man hijacked a passenger plane and forced it to land at Larnaca airport in Cyprus on Tuesday in an incident that Cyprus’ president said was related to a woman, not terrorism.
Egyptian and Cypriot authorities said the hijacker was arrested and all the hostages were freed.
The domestic EgyptAir Airbus 320 Flight 181 was hijacked while flying from the coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo. Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said there were 81 passengers aboard the plane, which took off at about 6:30 a.m. local time.
Most of the passengers were released apparently unharmed while a handful of crew and passengers remained aboard as negotiations with the hijacker continued.
TV footage from the scene showed a man jumping out of a cockpit window while three others walked down steps from the plane, before Cyprus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the incident was over and the hijacker was arrested, more than seven hours after the plane took off.
The Cypriot Foreign Ministry said the hijacker didn’t have explosive on him, but was in possession of empty telephone cases.
Egyptian authorities told a news conference that little more than a half hour after takeoff, a passenger confronted the pilot with a bomb threat. The man originally wanted to land in either Turkey or Cyprus, and after some negotiation they agreed on Larnaca. The plane touched down at 7:50 a.m.
The man did not have a gun, but there was still a danger to passengers and crew because officials were unsure if the bomb was real or fake, authorities said. Officials reached out to the families of the hostages to let them know what happened