Malaysia Airlines steward put hand down my pants, weeping passenger says
Australian says member of cabin crew put hand down her pants, then begged her to keep quiet
Agence France-Presse in Sydney
A chief steward with Malaysia Airlines allegedly put his hand down a woman's pants during a flight to France and then pleaded with her not to report the incident, she told Australian media.
Laura Bushney, who is from Perth, said she was petrified when the steward allegedly began touching her under the guise of calming her nerves as she was afraid of flying with the disaster-prone airline.
Earlier this month, the airline issued a statement acknowledging that a cabin crew member had been detained in France over the sexual assault allegations on August 4.
Bushney, aged 26, told Australia's Channel Seven on Sunday evening that three hours into the half-full flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris the steward sat beside her and then allegedly began massaging her legs.
She also claims he later put his hand down her pants, taking advantage of her vulnerability due to a fear of flying.
"I just keep saying why didn't I scream, why didn't I shout? Why didn't I stop it? I am a strong person because I can do that. I know I can," Bushney said. "When I was in the moment I couldn't. I felt so scared, so petrified."
However, Bushney recorded part of the alleged incident on the mobile phone wrapped in a scarf next to her pillow.
In the recording, which was played on Channel Seven, she can be heard whispering what he was doing to her.
"He's massaging my legs," she can be heard saying. "I'm so scared, I just want to get off this plane."
Bushney was reportedly seated in row 81, which was vacant except for a man six seats away on the far side of the plane.
After the incident she told a passenger in front of her, Canadian Sophie Lachance, what had just happened.
"Somebody touched my arm ... and I remember I woke up and I saw her face full of tears, and she was sobbing really, really strong," Lachance told Channel Seven. "She told me that this man did something to her."
The steward returned to where Bushney was seated and can be seen pleading with her that his "intentions were good" on the recording she made.
"You wanted to calm me down by putting your hand in my pants. You did. You put your hand inside my pants," she can be heard telling him.
He reportedly made another attempt to apologise later, to which she replied: "You've got a wife at home and you're putting your hands down my pants. Why would you do that?"
Malaysia's struggling national airline has been struck by twin tragedies this year. Flight MH370, bound for Beijing, went missing in March and flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine.
In its statement, Malaysia Airlines vowed to assist French authorities in their investigation, adding "the safety, comfort and well-being of our passengers is always our highest priority".
But Bushney told Channel Seven she was disappointed with its response to her complaint, claiming the airline had not contacted her since.