Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Most Cheerful Hostage Ever

Ben Innes, right, smiles in a selfie while being held
hostage by the guy next to him during a plane
hijacking drama in Cyprus Tuesday.  
A plane hijacking thankfully ended peacefully last week after a guy named Sief Eldin Mustafa hijacked what should have been an EgyptAir domestic flight and took it to Cyprus.

Mustafa said he had an explosive belt, but it was fake, thank goodness. It turned out Mustafa wasn't really a terrorist.

He apparently thought the hijacking would be a cool way to win back his estranged wife.

Reports are she was not impressed. They won't get back together and Mustafa is in a heap of legal trouble, as you can imagine.

My favorite/not so favorite guy in this whole drama, though was a guy named Ben Innes, 26, a British man who was aboard the plane and was among the last to be released.

He managed to talk Mustafa and getting a selfie during the drama. And there's the viral photo, that you see in this post. It shows a glum looking Mustafa next to a beaming Innes, who, rather than looking like a hostage and a crime victim, beaming like he won a million dollars.

Innes works for an oil and waste management company based in Aberdeen, Scotland but with offices in Alexandria, Egypt.

He told The Sun:

"I'm not sure why I did it, I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity.

I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway, so I took a chance to get a closer look at it.

I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him. He just shrug OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever."

I'll say, especially since everything ended as well as it did. Nobody got hurt, and we have a fun photo.

However, security experts say what Innes did was stupid, and I buy that, too.  Also, I probably would have been a bit too frightened, and trying too hard to make myself look invisible to the hijacker to get a selfie.

The worst thing you can do is agitate a criminal.

I guess nowadays, though, no matter what situation you find yourself in, it didn't happen unless you took a selfie of it.

I get it that Innes was trying to lighten the mood, but, I dunno

As Scott Simon editorialized on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday:

"It's hard not to wonder why someone would pose for a smiling selfie with a hijacker, instead of, say, the highly professional flight attendants who worked to keep the passengers from harm. Is it just because the hijacker was famous, no matter what hideous thing he did to become so for a few minutes in the minute of the news cycle?"

As Simon intimated, in some respects Innes is still a hostage and might be for life. That selfie he took with the hijacker will follow him for life.

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