Farrah El Dibany survived a Hijack and tells us her story
An experience of our lives!
To some it is just another interview, they rave about it, ponder over even cry or laugh, okay..Finished..Let’s have a soda, go out and talk about tonight’s soccers game, but.. to some of us it is an experience of their lives shared in a media-enhanced way that will always be within them forever and ever. Actually it’s a memory that no man made tool can erase and you don’t have the slightest idea what it feels like when your plane is hijacked!
Farrah El Dibany was on Egypt Air flight that landed at Larnaca Airport as emergency was declared. The hijacker took control of the plane at 6:30 UK time shortly after the Egypt Air flight had taken off from Alexandria en route to Cairo.
Farrah described her contradictory feelings to SeeThru in a phone interview
How did you know that “something wrong” was going on?
The flight took too long and it’s unusual to see the Mediterranean sea; “When you fly to Cairo, you don’t cross the sea,” she said, then the cabin crew started to collect our passports
What did you expect when they took your passport?
They took everyone’s passport, so I expected that we have some “Bad Guys” on the plane.
What came to your mind when you knew that you were “Hijacked”?
I was terrified the hijacker would “take the plane and crash it in the sea.”
“Or…he’s going to bomb it. With these people you never know,”
How did the other passengers react?
Two women cried, El Dibany noted, but said “it wasn’t that chaotic on the plane.”
Surprisingly, another passenger delivered his passport and fell asleep! All the way to Larnaca and even after landing he was sleeping deeply and peacefully! I started to make scenarios about some other hijackers among us and suspected some other passengers; I made scenarios about escaping the plane and what shall i do if we landed in the middle of the sea!
When did you feel safe?
“You can never feel safe unless you leave the plane.”
The plane was in the air for one or two hours
“With the news about landing, it felt much better, safer, but still not 100 percent safe…the unstable man can still do something after landing,” she said.
She continued: “We still didn’t think that he would leave, that he would let us go, that we’re going to stay in the plane until they negotiate. We were still terrified.” I felt safe when in Egypt.
How did the Cabin Crew react?
The crew said didn’t know much but “they were trying to calm us down.” They were professional, calm and “Strong”; She applauded how the crew “very professionally” handled the situation.
“They were keeping everyone calm,” she said. “They weren’t panicking. They were in control.”
Did you see the hijacker?
Barely.. I was in the front of the plane, The hijacker was sitting at the back of the plane and was taken behind a curtain by crew members. He didn’t talk to the passengers, just the crew.
She said the suspected hijacker eventually allowed all Egyptians, including herself, to leave the plane.
“I was so relieved, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I didn’t believe it would have ended relatively peacefully..usually in these cases, you never have a happy ending.”
How did you feel when you knew that the suspect had a “suicide vest” that contained no explosives — just mobile phone cases made to look like a suicide belt?
It was much better than having a “Real serious terrorist!” I just hated him more! (She laughed) but people are making fun of the incidence as if it was an April Fool, it wasn’t..no one can describe how horrifying it is to be there.
You thought of someone when you knew you were hijacked?
My Mother & My Father.
I typed a text to my mom and sent it once i got signals at Cyprus.
What did it say, your text?
“I’m safe, don’t worry, won’t be able to talk right now” I didn’t want her to panic when she hears the news.
Will you take planes again?
I have a flight tomorrow to Germany where i study, but actually i wish i can take the train to Germany!
El Dibany told ABC News the airport security check in Egypt was “precise” and “better than usual.”
Officials said the hijacking was not terrorism-related but may have been motivated by a personal issue.
The suspected hijacker “will be kept in custody and legal procedures will follow.