it started bubbling up on social media about 90 minutes ago that this was happening. they had been divert today the airport at larnaca after the pilot was told to divert the flight because somebody managed to get their way in to the flight deck. of course that's another question that the egyptian authorities have to answer because still these days, after the events of 9/11, you simply cannot get onto the cockpit and join the pilots on a plane. those doors were strengthened in the off math of 9/11 because of what happened on sent the 11th when so many people lost their lives. let's talk now to ivan joining us on the line. ivan, where are you? what are you seeing and what are you hearing? and what's your take on this events as it continues to unfo
unfold? >> i am inside just now and we are reaching the same updates as you are. we have the live feed from the airport it. looks like everybody has been released except five people. plus the crew. and it seems like it was a local special forces have been there and surrounded the plane. and all the passengers have come out without any trouble. so far. and there is still waiting to communicate with the main [ inaudible ] and everybody is on high alert because of the bomb scare. >> ivan, just take me through the timeline of what happened. when did the aircraft touchdown? >> we got the first call about half an hour ago.
so it must have been about an hour ago. everybody has been mobilized and the police is there, the special forces are there. and it seems like [ inaudible ] right now. >> the pie bot lot pilot, one a, wouldn't have declared a mayday, because in aviation parlance a may dan means thr*l there is something wrong with the plane but he would have declared an emergency i assume and asked for clearance to land as quickly as he possibly could? >> yes. egyptian airspace and flew over to cyprus and got clearance from the airport.
[ inaudible ] >> we are just waiting to see how this unfolds. >> security at the airport anyway is considered to be amongst the best in the world. are the authorities there ready and prepared for this kind of incident? >> the security has been enhanced in the recent few days after the attacks. in other parts of europe and asia. and this happened once before in cyprus where a highjack airplane land ed in eye prussian. that one ended ugly compared to this case, which so far it seems that everything is happening pretty smoothly. and the difference is last time
it happened there was a second plane that came from egypt with egyptian forces and clashed with the security forces on the tarmac at the airport, in the airport. >> ivan we have a name of the highjacker, eastbound himself. ibrahim samaha. can you tell us anything about that and if talking to him has already begun? >> i think so. i am still waiting to get updates for that. >> of course. we are looking at these live pictures. and we have seen the pictures maybe we can rerack them and watch again the lucky people, they will consider themselves as they are allowed to get off the plane. give us a sense of where the aircraft is at the moment in relation to the bits of the airport that we might remember
if we have flown in and out i cyprus ourselves. >> sorry, can you say that again? >> whereabouts have they parked the plane? >> it's not too far from the main terminal. the tarmac, the airstrip, is right next to [ inaudible ] and it's -- it's not so close to the terminal as to be a danger to people there. even though it has been cleared already. right now there is communication between the president of the republic with the egyptian president el-sisi after the landing. >> okay. and we are still waiting for an official release, official response. >> ivan, thanks for that.
we'll talk to you later i suspect. let's brings in after ex-an after areas analyst joining us from london. just watching these pictures, alex. this plane is operated by egyptian and at the moment is in a very remote area of the airport it's not a very big airport so it's remote as it can get at this airport. the procedure at larnaca the aircraft in the event of a highjack will be placed at the end of the run day nearer to the beach, mackenzie beach by the perimeter fence so it further is "america tonight" away from the main termal building as possible to minimize impact should anything go wrong. we know this was a deem tick slight between alexandria and cairo, it's unclear yet whether
the highjacker made his way in to the flight deck or alerted the crew that he had explosives on him and ordered the flight deck door to be opened. the latter being more likely. saying that the flight crew were then instructed by the highjacker to divert to larnaca which they did. interestingly, they didn't send out the squawking signal that we would have expected in the event of a highjack. so this signal is 7500 and that's a combination of four numbers the fly crews in these vents don't always have the opportunity to say. this wasn't the case. it was alert today egypt air because one of their aircraft was taken massively off route on what was normally to be a normal domestic flight and landed of course in lan chasm the highjacker may have been aware
of that squawking code and instructed the flight crew not to declare this aircraft as a highjack. but it landed and they are now confirm that go there are u.s. sit since on board and also britt on boarbrits on board buty of the passengers have been let off with the ex-70 crew. but they have not stated whether or not that means the flight crew and the cabin crew and up to four or five foreigners as they are calling them. >> lots of information in the past couple of minutes there from you, alec. just to be clear, are you saying a spot signal or a squawking signal? >> a squawking signal. >> and that squawking nil 7500 that's send worldwide. does that mean specifically a highjack or something else. >> it's very specifically a squawk only for highjack, 7500 in the events of general emergencies including medical emergencies aboard the aircraft they have 7700.
whether there is an issue with radio contact it's 7600 but highjack specifically 7500 and we know that this aircraft did not squawk this code. >> a really good website that works on smart devices and desktops as women. given that they did not accepted out that signal, alec, it "america tonight" it fair to say they did not have time to send out that signal? >> maybe lack of time. but maybe the highjackers were aware of this and instructed the flight crew not to send out the 7500 because 7500s can often prompt measures to be in place for the arrival, but also we have seen in the past military escorts go up to the aircraft to kind of set up the procedure for an aircraft highjacking from the air and so they would have been
with the aircraft as it made its way down towards larnaca. it was not the indication that & this squawk was not sent out. >> what's your opinion as to where egyptian security is today. if we have this right. if all the report verse this right and somebody managed to get onto that flight carrying some kind of explosive device, given what happens in the past six months or so when it comes to planes leaving egypt, security concerns that the egyptians said that they were addressing, what's your reading of where that debate is right now? >> you would think that egyptian security would be best as it's ever been especially after the bombing of the russian aircraft. however this looks like not to
be the case. reports are this is similar to the sinai bombing where someone from the airport was involved in, you know, allowing or helping a potential highjacker pass through the airport with what they are saying is an explosive belt. this was a domestic route, so although it's not international security should be you can know, a strengthened level especially with us, know, being a tuesday morning on an egyptian air flight, egypt is a national carrier, a safe airline typically and on board an air bus a320 which as we know is one of the most used commercial air liners in the skies, with a classic cockpit door that we are used to, where, you know, they are as safe as they say in terms of the cockpit door at the moment cannot get any safer in light of these attacks, and with russian plane bombing, there was not solutions put in to place to say, okay, here is how we make the cockpit door safer they are saying it's as safe as it can
get ever since 9/11. with reference to that, you would think egyptian airport security would be at its strongest at the moment but it's simply too early to say in materials of high this highjacker managed to pass through the airport or his intentions for this flight. >> i think i am right in saying, alex that egypt air is not considered to be one of the big leg at this carriers but has been around for a long time. the brand i think it was what, 1931, 1932 that it started flying initially. >> that's correct. yes. and there are very old airline in terms of a mature and recognized brand. but they have as well had their fair share of not just incidents, but they have had a high lot suicide event that was very famously linked in terms of how the german wings vent took place last year. and they have also seen multiple highjack goes as well. but, again, these were all years ago when security was much weaker both at airports and on
aircraft post 9/11 this has been a safe airline to travel with. >> is there a proforma start or a beginning to that conversation between the hostage negotiators and the hostage taker? >> in the past it's been firstly identifying who the highjacker would like to speak to. whether it be the airport authorities themselves at the airport they have landed at, though in, this circumstance, larnaca, and the cypriot authorities or if they want to be in touch with that airline. usually it's in touch with the airline. when air france had highjack goes before. the highjackers demanded they speak to senior members of the airline immediately and then the negotiations began from there. in this case, egypt air released a statement saying that they were directly in contact and negotiating and providing updates saying that the majority of passengers were allowed off of the aircraft, minus five or
four who still remain on with the crew. and, again, with the crew it's not yet clear whether that means the flight crew and the cabin crew or either. >> and there are always as well obviously other people involved in this process. we are watching the passengers getting on to the buses from our earlier coverage. they will now be checked over, they will be given the once over, but the people working with the hostage negotiators i.e. the security services the larnaca airport will be interviewing those passengers i assume because they want to find out how many hospital tick takers, what kind of arms do they have with them, if they have guns, we haven't had any reports saying they have guns or firearms with them what kind of explosives device do they have with them and what sort of mental state are this in. because surely the key thing here is to work out whether the person who is perpetrating this crime, and this is a crime
obviously, whether they are emotion -- their emotional equilibrium is pretty balanced? >> exactly. passengers will be able to shed a lot of light in terms of perhaps earlier in the flight if they had any suspicion and then, of course, when the highjackers kind of made themselves known, highjack he were or highjackers, we are not actually sure at the moment. we development have a confirmation of the numbers other board, that they would have been able to shed light what was happening. i am looking at the footage that you are looking at now it seems that the passengers were allowed off with lug and i think walking off quite calmly as well. it was calm suggest that go there may not be hysteria on board but it's unlikely to be a tranquil place to be at any time with a highjacker on board an aircraft in we have one report from the reuters news agency take sat highjacker has been identified as being an egyptian
national that's one unconfirmed report. i do not want to put words in your mouth and i know that you u are an aviation analyst as opposed to a geopolitical analyst. if somebody had an ax to grind with egypt air, who do you think it might be ore what organization g.we have lost that line with alec. he was giving us a lot of valuable information. we'll stay with the live pictures reminding us it's an a320. they did the classic thing. when it landed they took it to a remote, isolate the part of the runway. in effect they have parked it at the end of the apron, near mackenzie beach if you know that particular part of larnaca slash cyprus. they would have sent out a squawk signal 7500, they should have in theory have 70 out that squawk signal. they didn't. that begs the question, did they
not have time or did what happened on board the flight deck when you attorney left when you get on the plane if you are lucky enough to board at the front of the plane, did they not have time because the door was broken down, in theory that would be impossible because alec was also making the point since the event of 9/11 egypt hair have had a very good safety record. he also said perhaps the highjacker literally showed or displayed this explosive di deve we are hearing about to a member of the cabin crew, the cabin crew then they are on a full aircraft at this time pretty much a full aircraft. notices a particularly big airplane not sure what the seating configuration, is is. i am assuming they have business class. so the member of cab run crew, very well trained not a legacy carrier but they have a good track record, they first started
flying in 1932. egypt air. so the cabin crew on board then start talking to presumably straightaway either the senior member of cabin crew, you call him the flight director or cabin services director if you were discussing the staffing of the airplane on board. that person would then obviously talk directly to the pilot and the copilot. was that person then allowed in to the cockpit? we don't know. that is the kind of question, that's the kind of information that the investigators working inside that secure jerry, which will be part of the airport well aware from the main terminal building. will be asking the passengers who have been allowed off the aircraft. most of the passengers have been allowed off. we have been told that there are seven crew members on board and a remaining five passengers have been kept on board the plane.
the highjacker is an egyptian national, ibrahim samaha according to egyptian state media and according to one of the egyptian state newspapers saying the president sisi has had a conversation already with his counterpart in cyprus to follow-up the latest developments on this highjacked plane. we were looking at it as well, i am not sure if we can show you the route that the aircraft ended up taking via flight radar 24. you can clearly see that ms181 at some point during this domestic flight, the situation on board changed utterly and then the aircraft was allowed to divert to larnaca. various people as well in the past hour or so here on al jazeera making the same point. security at that airport very, very tight. arguably tighter than it is at the egyptian end of this news
story. because following on from the -- what happened to that russian metro jet over sinai, just, what, three or four months ago now, there were serious questions being asked then about security. let's bring in zeina khodr our correspondent tracking this story for us out of the greek city. zeina, just get us right up to speed. so we've got at least five passengers still on board. plus the cabin crew. plus the flight crew, and we are assuming here that the negotiators are talking to the hostage taker. >> reporter: yes, peter, what we understand from cypriot officials is that negotiations have led to to the release of 56 people. 56 people were seen leaving the aircraft. like you mentioned, four foreigners still inside the plane as well as the crew.
the suspected highjacker identified by egyptian authorities as ibrahim. they didn't mention the nationality and we do not know his nationality, we do not have confirmation on his demands but cypriot state television is reporting that he is asking for a translator and political asylum. again, this is cypriot state television reports it's very difficult at this moment to know what his demands are. at the end of the day the biggest question is if he indeed has explosives and we understand from the pilot he had explosives and threatened to use a suicide belt and that's why he was forced to land in larnaca but of course authorities can't confirm that at the moment. it's howid he get those explosives on board, which means a lax in the security of
alexandria airport. egypt will have to answer a lot of questions. because this is not the first time. a few we remember that russian plane blowing up in midair taking off from sharma airport. egypt called it an act of terrorism. isil claiming responsibility for putting a bomb on board that plane now you have a highjacker on board an egyptian airliner. that took off from alexandria, that was supposed to land in cairo, diverted to larnaca and what we understand is that he has some sort of explosives on board. >> we should maybe wrap up our discussions that are taking us towards mentioning organizations such as isil with a couple of health warning goes, zeina, as far as we know this is just one individual. it could, in theory be a completely different back story that he's bringing in to this appalling situation for those
people who are being held against their will on board that aircraft. >> reporter: no doubt, peter. like i mentioned cypriot state tv saying he's requested a translator and dead manning political asylum. the very fact that women and children were allowed to disembark from the aircraft and he's picking and choosing, it's not a trademark of isil. isil doesn't discriminate between men, well, or children when it does carry out attacks. but if, indeed the person is requesting political asylum, definitely the -- in northern greece we have seen really desperate people trying to make their way to europe, to escape the war, to escape poverty. but undoubtedly this does not justify an act to highjack a plane, but if, indeed, he is requesting political asylum it
shows the desperation because here we have more than 50,000 people stranded in greece, this was not their intended final destination but now they find themselves stuck because europe's open-door policy has now been shut. like i mentioned we still do not know for sure what his demands are, we do know that he has negotiated with the authorities because according to cypriot authorities negotiations allowed 56 people to disembark from the plane. >> zeina, thank you very much. if you are just joining us here on al jazeera, let's walk you through what we know has happened so far. any gins national his name is eastbound himself. amaah. has -- samaha. has highjacks that plane. he allowed all the men, women children disembark, these those people will be going through a did he briefing process with the
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welcome. if you're just joining us, you're watching al jazeera live. we're bringing you live coverage of that live aircraft hijacking situation taking place on the apron there. it was a320 onan internal domestic flight. at some point during that flight a hijacker, singular, not plural so far as we know, either forced his way into the cock pick or he let it be knn.