Drunk passenger tied up mid-air after creating ruckus, nabbed

Last Updated 22 August 2014, 12:03 IST

A drunk Indian passenger, who was tied up on board an Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi after he created a mid-air ruckus, was arrested by police after the plane landed.

However, the 27-year old man, who was charged under sections 323 and 341 of the IPC, was released on bail late yesterday, airport police said. The sections respectively refer to voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful restraint.

After a few drinks on flight AI-301 on Wednesday, the passenger allegedly got into a tiff with some crew members and passengers and then tried to hit them and tore the clothes of two attendants, airline sources said.

As the incident turned into a major row, the passenger was overpowered by some crew and passengers and tied him up on the seat, they said.

This led the captain to consider diverting the flight to Singapore because of the threat posed to the other passengers. But after exchange of messages with the airline officials, the cockpit crew decided against it and flew straight to Delhi as a diversion would lead to delay of several hours, the sources said.

On landing here, airport security agencies got into the aircraft, nabbed the passenger and handed him over to the police which arrested him later, they said.

In a similar incident in April, an unruly passenger aboard a Virgin Australia plane on its way to Indonesia triggered reports of a hijacking, which later turned out to be false. However, the passenger was arrested when the aircraft landed in Bali.

Similarly in January last year, a passenger on board a flight from Iceland to New York's JFK Airport had also created a row on board and was tied up to his seat with duct tapes and later handed over to the security agencies.

In 2010-11, aviation regulator DGCA had notified new rules to check unruly behaviour in-flight, both in domestic and international operations.

Under these rules, such disruptive passengers could be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs five lakh or both. These also empower airlines and cabin crew to take action for bad on-board behaviour and lodge complaints with aviation security agencies like CISF.

The global airlines' body, International Air Transport Association adopted a resolution two months ago calling on governments and industry to work together on a balanced package of measures to effectively deter and manage the significant problem of unruly air passenger behaviour.

Such behaviour includes committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions.

The adoption of the resolution followed an International Civil Aviation Organization conference at which governments agreed to modernise and strengthen global laws and conventions to provide a more practically effective deterrent to unruly behavior by extending the legal jurisdiction for such events to the territory in which the aircraft lands.

(Published 22 August 2014, 12:03 IST)

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