I’ve been around plenty of terrorist bombings (courtesy of the Irish Republican Army), but I’ve never been present at a hijacking.
I somehow feel as if I’d be quite nervous. Then, the minute it’s all over, I’d want to rush out of the plane, out of the airport and away to a beach for a week or three.
Ben Innes may be slightly cooler. Or something.
The 26-year-old was on an Egyptair flight from Alexandria to Cairo that reportedly got hijacked by Seif Eldin Mustafa.
Mustafa, who admitted his crime, was wearing a belt of what looked like explosives.
Still, when the Airbus 320 landed in Larnaca, Cyprus, there was Innes posing for a “selfie” with Mustafa.
— Paul Smith (@Journo_Paul) March 29, 2016
While the latter has the calm mien of your average gynecologist, Innes is offering a toothy grin not unlike another famous selfie-taker, Naruto the macaque monkey.
You’ll be wondering why Innes would take this step. Was he posing for posterity? Did he think he might disarm Mustafa in more ways than one?
“I’m not sure why I did it,” he told the Sun.
He added: “I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity. I figured that if his bomb was real I had nothing lose anyway, so I took my chance to get a closer look at it.” (The bomb turned out not to be real.)
But how did he get Mustafa to pose at all for a photo that, although technically not a selfie, has all the hallmarks of modern self-absorption? Wouldn’t the hijacker have better things to think about than satisfying a man’s quest for, who knows, fame?
“I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him,” he told the Sun. “He just shrugged OK, so I stood beside him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap.”
Innes then offered a line that will surely drift into immortality, as quickly as Mustafa drifted to jail when the hijacking was over.
“It has to be the best selfie ever!” he said.
Definitions of “best” are many and always subjective. Some might deem this the bravest selfie ever, or perhaps the most foolhardy. Or even the most fame-hungry.
Evidence for this last possibility was offered by the Daily Mail, which published a WhatsApp conversation in which Innes allegedly said to friend: “You know your boy doesn’t f*** about. Turn on the news lad!!!”
Selfie-taking has proved itself not to be the safest pursuit on Earth. In 2016 alone, eight people have been reported as dying during the selfie-taking act.
Last year, a Houston man died while taking a selfie with a gun that he presumably thought was unloaded. A similar event happened this year in Washington. A tourist died while taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal. The Russian government has even issued a guide to explain all the different circumstances in which a selfie can be dangerous (example: on the roof of a train.)
Perhaps, though, this was simply the daftest selfie ever. No security expert would have recommended such an action. They tend to believe you should stay quiet and not make eye contact at all with hijackers.
Indeed one Italian passenger, Andrea Manchetti, walked up to Innes and, according to the Sun, mused: “Are you f***ing mad?”
I, though, feel sure that deep in his subconscious, Innes made all the appropriate calculations. He’s a health and safety auditor, after all.
Source: Chris Matyszczyk, CNET