Passenger Poses for Photo With Accused EgyptAir Hijacker - NBC Bay Area
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Passenger Poses for Photo With Accused EgyptAir Hijacker

"I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway," Ben Innes tells U.K. newspaper



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    Getty Images/via "Today"
    Ben Innes, 26, (right) poses with accused EgyptAir hijacker Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59, (left) in a photo that has gone viral on social media.

    A British man who was pictured with the accused EgyptAir plane hijacker says he's not sure why he posed for the bizarre photo.

    Ben Innes, 26, told The Sun newspaper he wanted to take "the selfie of a lifetime" while the hostage ordeal was unfolding at a Cyprus airport.

    The photo of Innes standing next to the hijacker with what looked like an exposed suicide vest went viral on social media within hours. The vest turned out to be fake and all the plane's passengers and crew were released unharmed Tuesday.

    Innes told the newspaper in a story published Wednesday that he had been texting his mother throughout the hijacking. He said, "I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway."

    The hijacker, identified by Cypriot and Egyptian authorities as 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, has been arrested and will likely face charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

    Officials have described Mustafa as "psychologically unstable" and said he will remain in custody for eight days after his initial court appearance Wednesday. 

    Authorities characterized the hijacking not as an act of terrorism but as a sort of "family feud" with Mustafa's Cypriot ex-wife, whom he asked to speak with after the plane landed.