Tuesday's was an undoubtedly terrifying experience for the 81 passengers, all of whom were released or escaped safely. But for those of us watching on the other side of the world, it was a news story that at first induced panic—oh no, not another terrorist attack—before turning into something else entirely. It's an emotion you can't quite articulate, aside from calling the whole thing absurd.
Local officials, in fact, seemed straight up amused by the event. Although news agencies like Reuters and the Associated Press aren't giving a motive—aside from it not being terrorism—numerous reports have said the hijacker, identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, took over the plane to somehow communicate with his ex-wife who lives on the island of Cyprus, where the plane landed. Here's what Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades had to say:
Authorities in Egypt, where terrorism is a constant threat, are less flippant about the situation—though an Egyptian official did call the hijacker an ""—especially after a Russian jet exploded over the Sinai Peninsula in November, killing all 224 people aboard. ISIS claimed responsibility for taking down the plane. However, that didn't stop an Egyptian tourism company from using the hijacking .
Photos purportedly of the hijacker emerged on social media. And while TV news outlets have been showing them on air, news agencies as of Tuesday morning Eastern Time had not confirmed whether they're of the hijacker.
One passenger even took a selfie with the guy we're assuming is the hijacker.
His suicide vest, which you can make out in the picture, was actually made of mobile phone cases and did not contain actual explosives, .