Man explains why he took photo with hijacker

Posted at 8:54 AM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 11:53:50-04

It was the photo seen around the world that sparked a whirlwind of controversy.

The photo of EgyptAir passenger Ben Innes posing with alleged hijacker Seif Eddin Mustafa on board the flight went viral -- and drew criticism on social media.

The Brit explained on "GMA" that he wanted to find a way to interact with Mustafa to assess his intentions.

"I wanted him to understand I was human, that I wasn't just a nameless, faceless victim. That I was a real living person," said Innes. "I also wanted to get a better look at the device. I needed to understand if he had any other weapons."

EgyptAir flight 181 was carrying 72 people from Alexandria, Egypt, to Cairo when Mustafa diverted the plane to Cypress. Passengers and crew members were held hostage for several hours at the Larnaca International airport.

Video emerged days later showing the moments inside the plane before passengers and crew were released.

Despite the backlash, Innes said he wouldn't change how he handled the on-flight ordeal.

"I have no regrets whatsoever about my actions on that plane," he said.