Hijacked EgyptAir Flight Is On The Ground In Cyprus
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We're following the story this morning of an EgyptAir flight that was hijacked while flying from the Egyptian city of Alexandria to the capital, Cairo. The plane was forced to land in Cyprus, where we've reached reporter Evie Andreo of the Cyprus Mail. Good morning.
EVIE ANDREO: Hello.
MONTAGNE: So you are at the airport. What is the latest? What can you tell us?
ANDREO: Well, a few minutes ago we saw three people exiting the airplane. And I haven't seen it, but there are reports that another person actually exited the airplane through the cockpit window.
MONTAGNE: Through the cockpit.
ANDREO: He jumped through the cockpit window. But...
MONTAGNE: ...So possibly a crew member?
ANDREO: Yes. Yeah, it could be.
MONTAGNE: Let's talk about something we seem to know about. The hijacker has made a list of demands, a short list, since landing. What are those demands as of now?
ANDREO: That's the thing. Police did not give us this information. There have been some reports that they did not confirm. The last time - I spoke to the police about 20 minutes ago. They told me that nothing has changed.
MONTAGNE: Well, may I say - the reports, I think it's fair to say, include the fact that he wanted to speak to his ex-wife?
ANDREO: Yes, that's true. Actually, they did - police did escort his ex-wife here at the airport.
MONTAGNE: So she is - we were hearing this some time ago, within - in last hour or so that she had actually arrived at - this woman had actually arrived at the airport. It was understood to be his ex-wife. And he - it was some sort of well, ex-wife problem that he wanted to what, resolve with her?
ANDREO: That's just the thing, we don't know. He asked to speak with her, police brought her here, and reportedly he delivered a letter. The letter was the demands to her.
MONTAGNE: You know, I think it's important to emphasize - and then the president of Cyprus said this very firmly - that it's not a terrorism event. Apparently, he meant this hijacking is based on domestic or personal rather than political concerns. How much do you know about that?
MONTAGNE: That seems to be the case.
ANDREO: Well, there have been reports that he wants to begin an asylum and another report that he is demanding the release of a number of Egyptian women who are held in Brussels. But we can't confirm these things.
MONTAGNE: All right. Well, that gets a little political there if that's accurate.
MONTAGNE: Let me ask you something. Passengers - and most of them have left the plane, many carrying their own luggage, seemingly unhurt. Have you been able to talk to any of them?
ANDREO: You mean passengers?
ANDREO: Leaving - traveling to and from Cyprus? That's what -
MONTAGNE: Yes, the ones off the plane. Have you been able to talk to them there at the airport?
ANDREO: No, not them. Not them.
MONTAGNE: OK, so they're not...
ANDREO: ...I mean, we can see where the police - I mean, we can see from here where the police are, and then we see some people, so they must be the passengers. But we're not close to them.
MONTAGNE: Well, much more...
ANDREO: We cannot - yeah.
MONTAGNE: ...Much more to be learned, I guess, later this morning as this develops. Thank you so much for joining us.
ANDREO: My pleasure (inaudible).
MONTAGNE: Evie Andreo - and I'm sorry for our listeners, a bad line. She's with the Cyprus Mail on the hijacking today of EgyptAir flight, now on the tarmac in Cyprus. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.