Two priests from the Greek Orthodox community in South Africa were on board the Egypt Air plane that was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus on Tuesday.
A representative of the Greek Orthodox church in Johannesburg confirmed to TMG Digital that two bishops who are based in South Africa were on board the plane.
The bishops contacted the church at around 9.30am telling them they were safe and had been released from the plane in Cyprus‚ the spokesman said.
EWN identified them as Archbishop Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria‚ and Bishop Nicodimus Boulaksis‚ saying they were in Egypt with the archbishop where Boulaksis was ordained as a bishop on Sunday.
Egyptian officials say seven people including three passengers remain on board‚ while negotiations continue with the hijacker. Initial reports said he had a fake bomb.
When reports surfaced that the plane hijacker was a love-sick professor who wanted to deliver a letter to his Cypriot ex-wife‚ fear began turning to humour on Twitter. Here is a selection of tweets:
Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT
What a world‚ hug… Everyone’s relieved that the suicide-belt wearing nut who hijacked a plane did it out of love‚ not religion #EgyptAir
Papa CJVerified account @PapaCJ
Most divorcees I know would hijack a plane to get AWAY from their exes. #EgyptAir
One percent of such Hijackers give 99% of others a bad name #EgyptAir
Michelle Baker @shelllbaker
People joking about #EgyptAir situation I’m sure it wasn’t funny for those on board. Nor is it funny how easy it was for him to ‘hijack’
Alexander Thian @aMrazing
So the #EgyptAir hijacker is a broken hearted man who wants to see his ex-wife. Dude‚ we all know now why she left you. A correct decision
John LurieVerified account @lurie_john
#EgyptAir Imagine waking up to see you’re on the news because your ex has hijacked a plane to come and see you.
I G N I T I O N @saurabhkrbhatt
Roses are red‚
Sky is blue
Baby Please wait‚
I have hijacked a plain
Just to meet you. ~ Soulmate