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Man armed with shoelace forces international flight to divert

July 19, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59An unruly passenger said to have been armed with a shoelace threw water over cabin crew and other passengers on an international flight until the plane made an emergency diversion so he could be removed and arrested.

The man has been charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft, assault with a weapon and mischief.  The weapon is thought to have been a shoelace.

The bizarre incident took place on an Air Canada flight en route to London’
Heathrow airport earlier this week. The B777 aircraft was forced to divert to Halifax, Nova Scotia. On arrival, a 51-year-old man, identified by Canadian media as Stanislav Kalmin, was arrested and charged.

The mystery deepened when CBC News reported that it had learned “that Kalmin may have used a shoelace in a threatening manner against the flight crew”.

CBC News quoted corporal Scott MacRae of Canada’s famous “mounties”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, saying that the plane was over Newfoundland and about six hours into the flight when it was forced to turn back.

Police allege that as well as throwing water, Kalmin threatened the crew and acted “strangely”.

Attempts by crew to calm him failed, the policeman said.

Any attempt to threaten crew with a shoelace, if proved, could well be a first. Several airlines removed toothpicks from meal trays some years ago, but that was for reasons of economy rather than out of any fear that toothpicks might be used as weapons. Or so they said.

An unruly passenger armed with both a shoelace and a toothpick could, hypothetically, present twice as much danger.

Written by : Peter Needham

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