• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 8:39pm
NewsHong Kong
CRIME

‘Disruptive’ passenger forces London-bound flight back to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 9:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 10:20am

A rowdy passenger was in custody yesterday after forcing a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight to head back to Hong Kong, where he was promptly arrested.

The plane had travelled about 1,000km before pilots decided to head back to the city in the early hours of yesterday.

Hong Kong police said a 26-year old man identified only as "Robert" began shouting during the flight and ignored the flight attendants' requests to calm down.

The plane's crew alerted air traffic control, who in turn notified the police. The man was arrested and detained, but no charge has been filed against him as of 6pm last night, according to a police source.

"He was accused of singing, shouting and waving his hands in his seat," a police source said. "He allegedly pushed away a flight attendant while being asked to calm down."

A Virgin Atlantic statement confirmed that flight VS201 had returned to Hong Kong and "was met by authorities on arrival". The airline "does not tolerate disruptive behaviour by passengers", it said.

The aircraft made a U-turn above Sichuan province and started the 1,000-kilometre journey back to its departure point.

The Airbus A340 entered Hong Kong airspace about 3am, before landing at 3.40am.

The man, who police said was a foreign citizen, was arrested upon landing for violating the Aviation Security Ordinance and was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital.

The Airport Authority confirmed the return of the flight, but declined to provide any further information.

Virgin Atlantic said 240 passengers and 16 crew were on board the four-engine jet. The remaining passengers were offered accommodation in Hong Kong and the aircraft was due to depart later in day.

It was originally scheduled to arrive in London at 5.25am local time.

Additional reporting by Clifford Lo

 

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54

This article is now closed to comments

whsmith
That drunk, what a tosser!
syn
@resolver It's only 2 people posting over and over thinking that the anonymous tags hide their identity in this broken forum...
johndoe
The other question is why the airline is not competent in handling this type of situation by restricting the physical movement of the passenger. One reason is that they prefer to hire pretty skinny girls that like to see the world rather than well built men who can physically control passengers in such a scenario.
nicola.newbery.5
The reality is that disruptive/aggressive people on a flight tend to respond better to a calm, non-threatening, female. The last male cockpit crew member I heard of who went down back to deal with an aggressive male passenger, sustained a serious injury that hospitalised him after he was kneed in the groin.
Dai Muff
They did "restrict his movement".
53cc5f1b-5ea0-4270-9016-74420a320969
There are some truly appalling racist messages in this collection of comments. Surely the SCMP should be moderating all contributions to avoid the posting of offensive material. Clearly, this is not happening.
johndoe
No moderation please. What you find offensive does not necessarily offend others.
Pokfulam2
Agree. I am a regular reader of the Manchester Guardian online - whilst there are usually some inappropriate comments the quality is quite high. So far, on a sliding scale SCMP commenters seem to be closer to YouTube standards.
klyiu1@yahoo.ca
It doesn't matter what his color or race is, or indeed what his social status is. Pilots nowadays have strict instructions to take no chance. Better err on the side of errors than be sorry. The safety of all passengers on board takes top most priority, any time, over inconvenience or delays, or for that matter, the costs of the aborted flight. He will surely learn his lesson - blacklisted for lifetime, and in no time his sense of superiority will be gone forever. Criminal charges aside, hope this guy is wealthy enough and let the airline and all passengers bring him to court to pay for all the financial damages.
philpaul
It's been confirmed he is British.

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