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Hijacking Of EgyptAir Flight Doesn't Appear To Be Terror Related


We're tracking a story this morning about that EgyptAir flight that was apparently hijacked and taken to Cyprus. The plane was traveling from Alexandria to Cairo. And we're joined now by Andria Kades. She's a reporter for the Cyprus Mail. She's at the airport where the scene is unfolding in Cyprus. Andria, thanks for being with us.


MARTIN: What can you tell us about what's happening right now where you are?

KADES: OK, so at the airport, passengers are - more and more flights are being diverted or canceled that - basically, so far the latest we've heard was that three flights were diverted from Larnaca Airport to Paphos Airport. Four more were meant to be diverted as well. Some of the passengers are upset that some are missing medical appointments and so on and so forth. At the scene, apparently the hijacker has requested to speak to his ex-wife. This is unconfirmed. However, he has apparently written a letter or delivered a letter in Arabic. Authorities at the scene were working on translating it, but, however, this is unconfirmed. There's a lot going back and forth.

MARTIN: There have been conflicting reports about his identity. Can you clarify any details on who he is?

KADES: Like you said, there are conflicting reports. Some say he's from Libya. Some say he's from Egypt. As of now, there hasn't been an official announcement. However, there is a press conference in about half an hour's time. We're hoping some of the questions will be answered and things will be a bit more clear.

MARTIN: And we should say the majority of the passengers were released. But there are still some passengers and crew who are on that plane. Do you have any reports about their well-being?

KADES: No. There has been nothing on that yet. The ones that have already been evacuated from the plane have already left the plane. There's been - we've heard nothing about them being unwell. However, there's definitely not - we've not heard anything about any of them being, you know, attacked or unwell or something wrong happening to them.

MARTIN: Lots of questions still. And you said that there had...

KADES: Yes, correct.

MARTIN: ...Been some speculation that some of this may be personally motivated. Any word, Andria, on whether or not he's making any other demands?

KADES: No. This has - the latest demand from what we've heard was the request to see his ex-wife. There were negotiations going on between authorities and himself to see, you know, how that could be arranged or what they would actually be doing. The latest, as I said earlier, was that he had a letter in Arabic and they were working on translating it. However, this is unconfirmed. Hopefully, officials will be giving us more concrete answers in half an hour time.

MARTIN: Obviously an unfolding story. Andria Kades is a report for the Cyprus Mail. Andria, thanks so much for sharing your reporting with us.

KADES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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