Passengers leapt up to restrain a man who went berserk and allegedly attacked a female flight attendant on Etihad flight EY460 from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne.
Reports suggest that when the man was told he couldn’t smoke on the aircraft, he reacted so violently that a squad of male passengers quickly helped cabin crew restrain him. It took six or seven men to hold the shouting and screaming man down while crew used cable ties to lash him to a seat at the back of the aircraft.
Australian Federal Police detained the man at Tullamarine Airport and said they were not treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack, the Brisbane Times reported.
Etihad Airways said the incident began when cabin crew told the man he could not smoke aboard.
A passenger from England aboard the flight told the Brisbane Times that the man continued screaming and ranting, yet the pilot and cabin crew made no announcements to allay passenger concern.
“It was six hours of uncertainty,” the woman said.
An Etihad spokesman denied that allegation and said crew had done all they could to support those who witnessed the incident.
“With the male passenger restrained and no longer a threat, a decision was by made by the pilot, in consultation with cabin crew and the airline’s security team, to continue the flight to Melbourne.
“Etihad Airways apologises to the passengers on board the flight for any distress the incident might have caused.”
Written by Peter Needham