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Bizarre violent incidents strike two Australian flights

August 29, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The two most bizarre in-flight incidents to hit the world’s news media so far this week have both concerned Australian flights.

In one case, a 36-year-old man is reported to have repeatedly punched a sleeping stranger on a Qantas flight for no apparent reason. In the other, an 82-year-old man, said to be a Christian missionary, allegedly tried to attack the pilot of a chartered small plane and possibly hijack the aircraft.

In what seems a very strange and sinister occurrence, the octogenarian passenger is reported to have attempted to seize control of a light plane and shut down one its engines as it was flying over regional New South Wales.

That’s the account reportedly given by the 23-year-old pilot, who says he was forced to restrain his 82-year-old passenger. The elderly man had chartered the flight from Bankstown to Cowra on Monday afternoon.

Reports yesterday of the incident were even more puzzling, with Channel 9 news describing the 82-year-old alleged assailant as Christian missionary and a well-travelled pilot in his own right, with years of experience.

The plane made an emergency landing in a paddock in Oberon, in the NSW central west, ABC News reported. The pilot declared a “pan pan” situation and radioed: “My passenger’s trying to take over.”

A pan-pan call means the flight or aircraft is in trouble but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

The passenger was taken to Westmead Hospital for treatment of head and facial injuries and the pilot was taken to Oberon Hospital to be treated, quite understandably, for shock.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed that the pilot told investigators from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority that the passenger tried to seize control of the aircraft. Police are investigating the circumstances.

The aircraft suffered only minor damage.

The other case of weird in-flight behaviour happened on a large passenger aircraft. A passenger on an international Qantas flight from Manila to Sydney allegedly punched in the face a fellow passenger he had never met, as the victim tried to sleep.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers arrested a 36-year-old man from Kiama on the NSW south coast, over the incident. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that police were on the flight from Manila on Friday night.

A statement by the AFP tells the story:

It is alleged the 36-year-old assaulted another passenger unknown to him, punching him multiple times in the face while he was attempting to sleep. On the third strike, the passenger tried to block the strikes and yelled for crew assistance.

The victim sustained multiple injuries, including abrasions and lacerations to his face. His injuries were attended to by a doctor on-board.

AFP officers on the flight detained the 36-year-old until the plane landed at Sydney Airport.

“Manager Aviation Michael Chew is warning passengers of the consequences of behaving violently on flights.

“The AFP will not tolerate this type of behaviour. Aviation safety is a serious matter, and abusive behaviour poses a serious risk to the travelling public,” Commander Chew said.

“Those who behave violently on-board aircrafts can expect to be charged.”

The man has been charged by the AFP with:

• Assault occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to section 23 (1) of the Crimes Act (ACT) 1900

• Obstruct territory official contrary to section 361 of the Criminal Code Act (ACT) 2002.

The man has been bailed to reappear in Downing Local Court on 30 September.

Written by : Peter Needham

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