EgyptAir passenger assaults crew

Officials say it’s unlikely the incident was terrorism-related

17:01 March 6, 2018

Cairo: A passenger on an EgyptAir flight from Oman to Cairo assaulted crew members on Tuesday but was quickly overpowered and handed over to authorities, Egyptian aviation officials said.

The Boeing 737-800 with 78 passengers returned to Muscat, Oman’s capital, 30 minutes after it took off from there, and the crew handed over the passenger to the police.

The plane later left for Cairo, arriving four hours behind schedule.

According to the officials, the passenger, identified as Egyptian national Mohammad Attiya Ashour, was not armed.

The incident unfolded shortly after take-off, when the man began to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great in Arabic) and demanded to enter the cockpit.

He was wrestled down by the flight’s two air marshals and crew members. The flight’s chief cabin steward was slightly injured in the head during the scuffle, the officials said.

Egyptian authorities have questioned the crew and other passengers about the incident after they arrived back in Cairo.

It was unlikely that the incident was terrorism-related, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

EgyptAir issued a brief statement confirming the incident, describing Ashour as a “disruptive” passenger.