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Aviation

Dutch scramble F-16s after ‘aggressive’ American starts fight on KLM flight from Abu Dhabi

A number of passengers were wounded including two who got black eyes, authorities said, adding that the man seem ‘disoriented’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2018, 9:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 8:33pm

The Dutch air force scrambled two F-16 fighter jets to escort a flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam after an fight broke out on board involving an aggressive American passenger, authorities said on Saturday.

The scuffle broke out over Germany, about half-an-hour before the KLM Airbus A330-200 jet was to land at Schiphol airport early on Saturday.

“A 29-year-old American man became aggressive after being asked by a purser to return to his seat,” said Joanna Helmonds, a spokeswoman for the gendarmerie, which also serves as the country’s border police. “A scuffle broke out and the cabin crew, together with other passengers managed to restrain the man.”

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She declined to name the airline or flight.

A number of passengers were lightly wounded including two passengers who were given black eyes, said Helmonds.

The plane was then given special clearance to land immediately at Schiphol airport with police arresting the man soon afterwards.

Helmonds said the man was examined at the airport and officers determined that he came across as disoriented.

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The man has been admitted to a psychiatric institution for observation, she said.

A spokeswoman for KLM said the airline “regretted the unpleasant incident”, but that cabin crew followed the normal procedures when dealing with an unruly passenger.

“Passengers and crew have laid a complaint against the man,” Heleen Makkinga said.

Although on high alert, Dutch fighter jets – which are armed with air-to-air missiles – are only scrambled in highly unusual cases, the Dutch air force said on Saturday.