Two Britons have been identified as the final hostages to flee a plane hijacked by a man strapped with fake explosives.
Four crew members and three passengers were held hostage in an eight-hour stand-off after a man, claiming to be wearing suicide belt, forced the EgyptAir jet to divert to Cyprus.
Cyprus’ Foreign Minister said the hijacker, Egyptian national Seif Eldin Mustafa, freed the group and handed himself in to police after making a series of “incoherent” demands.
“It looks like he realised his demands would not be met, allowing the last two hostages, Britons, to flee the aircraft,” Ioannis Kasoulides said.
Mustafa then slowly emerged from the aircraft with his hands aloft.
The Cypriot foreign minister tweeted: “It’s over. The #hijacker arrested.”
His surrender came minutes after a man in uniform was filmed escaping from the cockpit window.
The remaining hostages left the plane in two separate groups. The final group, now thought to include the two Britons, were filmed running from the aircraft.
One of those Britons is understood to be Ben Innes, a health and safety auditor from Leeds.
A photo has emerged of the brave Briton posing for a picture with Mustafa, whose fake suicide belt is clearly visible.
It was later established that the belt contained no explosives and was instead packed with mobile phone covers, Mr Kasoulides said.
“This is not about terrorism,” he told reporters. “This is about the individual action of a person who is psychologically unstable.”
The hijacker took over the EgyptAir jet during an internal flight from Alexandria to Cairo at about 8.30am (5.30am UK time).
It landed at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus around 20 minutes later after the hijacker contacted the control tower to demand a diversion.
Flight MSR181 had been carrying 56 passengers, including four Britons,seven crew members and one security official.
The hijacker allowed most to disembark but the four crew members and three passengers were kept on board as hostages.
Nearby Makenzy Beach, which is popular with tourists, was evacuated while negotiations went on, while police snipers trained on the jet.
Mr Kasoulides told reporters Mustafa had initially asked to see his Cypriot ex-wife, who was reportedly brought to the airport.
Witnesses said Mustafa threw a letter on to the tarmac and demand it be delivered to his estranged wife, with whom he has four children.
“After that, he started asking for European Union representatives to assure him about matters that had no logical basis,” Mr Kasoulides said.
He also reportedly demanded that female prisoners in his native Egypt be released.
Mustafa is thought to be in his late fifties and runs a food company.
According to Egyptian Interior Ministry officials, he was expelled from law school and had a long criminal record, including robberies.
The Interior Ministry has released a video it says shows him going through security at Alexandria airport.
The CCTV footage shows a man, who does not appear to be wearing a suicide belt, being patted down by a guard, suggesting his improvised belt may have been in his bag.
The incident calls into question airport security in Egypt five months after a Russian plane crashed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
Russia said a bomb brought down the plane and the attack was claimed by IS.
As well four Britons and one Irish citizen, the 26 foreigners on board the EgyptAir jet included eight Americans, four Dutch nationals, two Belgians, a French national, an Italian, two Greeks and one Syrian.