Flight to Cuba forced back to Montreal due to ‘unruly’ passenger

Flight to Cuba forced back to Montreal due to ‘unruly’ passenger

MONTREAL — A Sunwing Airlines flight bound for Cuba had to return to Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport on Thursday evening under a fighter jet escort due to an “unruly customer.”

An airline spokeswoman said flight WG604 had departed for Cayo Coco but turned around due to the passenger making “non-specific threats.”

“The flight arrived back around 7:25 p.m. and the disruptive customer was taken into police custody,” said Rachel Goldrick in an email to The Canadian Press.

Montreal police said a 39-year-old man was arrested and could face charges of breach of conditions, uttering death threats, assault and endangering the safety of an aircraft.

He is expected to appear in court Friday morning.

NORAD spokesman Lt. Commander Joe Nawrocki said a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15 jets were dispatched from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts and intercepted the aircraft near Albany, N.Y.

Canadian CF-18s were also reportedly scrambled but did not take part in the operation.

“Sunwing has provided affected customers with accommodations and meal vouchers and is very apologetic for the inconvenience,” Goldrick said.

This was the second such incident involving a North American flight on Thursday night.

Officials say a Delta Airlines flight bound for Beijing returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a passenger assaulted a flight attendant.

Airport spokesman Perry Cooper says a man in first class assaulted a flight attendant about 45 minutes into the flight and that passengers then helped restrain the man until the plane landed back in Seattle.

Officials say two people, including the flight attendant, were injured and taken to a hospital.

— with files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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