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8 Times EgyptAir Has Been Hijacked

From people claiming hair gel as a bomb to using a ballpoint pen, here is a list of the eight times that EgyptAir has been hijacked.

This morning, Egyptians woke up to the news that EgyptAir Flight MS181 had been hijacked and had landed in Cyprus. The culprit has thankfully been arrested without anyone being harmed; however, this marks the 8th EgyptAir hijacking in 40 years. With international eyes turned to this morning’s hijacking, we decided to explore the seven previous EgyptAir hijacking cases involving criminals who have used everything from hair gel to ballpoint pens in an effort to divert planes while seeking a variety of outrageous demands.

August 23, 1976

The first hijacking took place on a domestic flight taking off from Cairo to Luxor. The Boeing 737-266 was hijacked at 7:15 AM by three armed passengers demanding to be flown to Libya. The flight ended up landing in Luxor after the pilot explained to the hijackers that they didn’t have enough fuel to reach Libya. Upon landing in Luxor, hijackers demanded the release of five prisoners who were detained for plotting the assassination of Libyan and Yemeni political leaders. The situation came to a close that same afternoon after army commando forces stormed the plane, managing to arrest all the hijackers.

November 24, 1985

Nine years after the first hijacking, a similar incident occurred on an EgyptAir Boeing 737 flight travelling from Athens to Cairo - hijacked by three armed men demanding to be flown to Tunisia or Libya. On board at the time was an Egyptian security guard who managed to kill one of the hijackers before being shot and wounded, as well as two other flight attendants who were also wounded. Once again, the pilot explained they didn’t have enough fuel, resulting in the plane landing in Malta in order to refuel. Upon landing, the two wounded cabin crew members were released in exchange for fuel; however, Maltese authorities refused to refuel the plane, resulting in the hijackers threatening to kill a passenger every 10 minutes. Tragically, five people were shot and thrown off the aircraft with two of the victims being killed. After 22 hours of negotiations, the plane was stormed by Egyptian forces and, in the resulting fire fight, grenades were thrown into the cabin causing a fire. When the dust had settled, a total of 58 of the 95 passengers were killed, including two of the three hijackers.

October 22, 1993

Flight MS767 was en route from Cairo to San’a when a man wielding a large knife hijacked the plane demanding it land in Aden, Yemen. The flight managed to land in San’a and, shortly thereafter, the hijacker was arrested by authorities.

March 27, 1996

Flight MS104 was en route from Luxor to Cairo when an Egyptian man, his son, and his nephew hijacked the flight a few minutes after take-off. Claiming to possess explosives, the hijackers demanded to meet with world leaders. The flight was diverted to Libya, where the assailants surrendered to authorities and claimed they had a message from God to deliver to former Libyan leader, Muammar Qadhafi.

October 19, 1999

Aboard Flight 838 travelling from Istanbul to Cairo was a man being deported from Turkey back to Egypt. Allegedly, the cockpit door was left open during the flight, giving the hijacker the opportunity to storm the cockpit. Threatening the crew with what was believed to be a knife – but was actually a ballpoint pen – the hijacker demanded the flight divert to London or Germany. Landing at the Hamburg-Fuhlsbuttel Airport, the passengers were released, and the hijacker was arrested by German police.

May 11, 2000

Flight MS233 was destined to leave from Cairo to Aswan when a man holding a jar of hair gel claimed it was a bomb and that he wanted to go to Afghanistan to find a job. Thankfully, his attempts to storm the cockpit were thwarted by crew members who overpowered the hijacker. The plane landed in Aswan and the man was arrested and charged with air piracy and threatening the lives of the airline passengers.

October 21, 2009

Flight MS738 was travelling from Istanbul to Cairo when a Sudanese passenger pulled out a knife on a flight attendant, demanding the flight be diverted to Jerusalem to ‘liberate it’. Thankfully, two air marshals were aboard the flight and managed to overpower the hijackers who were believed to be intoxicated.