Smiling EgyptAir hostage posed for photo with plane hijacker

Ben Innes was reportedly one of at least two British hostages

Ben Innes, EgyptAir, hostage, British hostage, photo, Seif Eldin Mustafa

Ben Innes is seen on the right with hijacker Seif Eldin Mustafa (left)

A passenger who took a photo with the Cyprus plane hijacker has been identified as Ben Innes, a British health and safety auditor.

He was reportedly one of at least two British citizens held hostage on the EgyptAir jet after it was forced to land in Cyprus by a hijacker strapped with fake explosives.

Mr Innes, who is in his 20s and studied at the University of York, is seen with a massive grin, alongside his Egyptian captor, Seif Eldin Mustafa.

The hijacker's fake suicide belt, which later turned out to be packed with mobile phone covers rather than explosives, is clearly visible.

Mr Innes told The Sun he "just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity".

"I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing (to) lose anyway, so I took a chance to get a closer look at it," he told the newspaper.

"I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him".

"He just shrugged OK so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever".

A friend of Mr Innes said he was "not surprised" by the photo.

A close-up of the hijacker's fake explosive belt

"It is completely like him to think it is funny and get a picture," he said. Mr Innes' mother Pauline Innes added that she is "absolutely delighted he is well".

She also expressed her relief that "everything is resolved".

His sister Sarah Innes tweeted: "Only Ben could get a selfie #proud".

On his LinkedIn page, Mr Innes, who is based in Aberdeen, said his experience includes working in "high hazard" industries.

He is thought to have been one of the final hostages seen fleeing the plane after the hours-long stand-off.

Mustafa then slowly emerged from the aircraft with his hands aloft.

Although his motives remain unclear, Cyprus' foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides said it had not been a terrorist act.

In total, there were 56 passengers on board the EgyptAir jet.

Most were released when the plane landed, although four crew members and three passengers, including the two Britons, were forced to remain.