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Afghan war veteran helped cuff crazed Aussie on flight

February 5, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A former military man, veteran of the war in Afghanistan, helped restrain and subdue an Australian who reportedly went berserk on a flight from China to Canada.

Australian Abdul Zain Ali in handcuffs after he was subdued on a flight from China to Vancouver

Australian Abdul Zain Ali in handcuffs after he was subdued on a flight from China to Vancouver

Royal Canadian Mounted police identified the unruly passenger as Abdul Zain Ali, an Australian, according to The Province, a long-established daily newspaper and online news site in British Columbia. The Province’s online site published the accompanying picture, showing the passenger in handcuffs after being subdued.

Canadian Afghan war veteran James Leigh told the paper he woke aboard China Southern Airlines flight 329 from Guangzhou to Vancouver to hear a man shouting and screaming.

“The guy was crazy,” he told the paper. “He was headed for the emergency exit.”

Leigh, who said he weighs about 125 kilograms, helped the crew get the man under control.

“I basically had to jump on him and hold him down while they brought out handcuffs,” he told the CTV television network.

He said cabin crew were doing their best to restrain the man, who “appeared to be intoxicated” and was “muscular, strong, with a lot of tattoos on his arms”.

Leigh, who told the paper he had been wounded in Afghanistan, said he was kicked and hurt in the melee “but we managed to get him in handcuffs”. Leigh said he then subdued the cuffed passenger in the galley for three hours before the pair were given seats together where Leigh could keep him under control.

The 25-year-old Australian was taken into Canadian federal custody following the flight and charged with causing a disturbance, mischief and assault. The Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria says he is scheduled to make a court appearance in Richmond, British Columbia on Monday.

A China Southern representative in Vancouver thanked Leigh for helping out.

The Province quoted another passenger aboard who said the unruly man was travelling with two companions, a man and a woman.

Several flight attendants had tried to get the man to sit down, without success, the passenger said.

Written by : Peter Needham

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