It’s happened again… This time, a passenger onboard a Ryanair flight from Manchester in the North of England to the popular Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria went berserk during the roughly five-hour flight and threatened to hit a member of cabin crew with a fire extinguisher. Passengers were forced to jump on the man and restrain him for 45-minutes before the flight made a priority landing at Gran Canaria airport (LPA).
It’s not clear what started the man’s tirade although he was said to be drunk when he launched his rampage. Mobile phone footage shot by a passenger onboard the flight captured the man being restrained by fellow passengers as he threatened to “kill everyone” onboard.
Moments before passengers took the decision to subdue the man, he had grabbed an emergency fire extinguisher and threatened to hit a female member of cabin crew. At one point, the man even grabbed the door lever and attempted to open the emergency exit in-flight.
“I could hear this guy at the front of the plane shouting and screaming things at other passengers,” explained passenger Jodie Fisher, who recorded the incident on her mobile phone.
“He came to the front of the plane and started throwing cups all over the floor of the plane,” she told a British newspaper.
“There were three members of cabin crew – one male and two females, but they were all Spanish so I think they struggled to understand him.”
Describing the whole experience as “terrifying”, Fisher said she and her sister had tried to calm the man down but ended up being attacked by him.
“He bit my sister on the arm and he was about to bite me on the leg before a man and a woman came over and jumped on him,” she said. “Passengers and crew had to hold him down on the floor for about 45 minutes – it was awful.”
In threats that echo a similar incident in which a British man was jailed for nearly two years earlier this week, the suspect threatened to kill other passengers and burn their houses down. Thankfully, the man was detained by Spain’s Guardia Civil on arrival although the authorities have not yet commented on the case.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline told us “the crew of this flight from Manchester to Gran Canaria (4 May) requested police assistance upon landing after a passenger had a psychotic episode.”
“The passenger became abusive towards and struck members of the cabin crew and had to be restrained by other passengers. This is now a matter for local police.”
Recent figures released by the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) revealed that within Europe a flight is jeopardised by unruly or disruptive passengers once every three hours. In fact, the number of disruptive passengers reported by airlines increased by 34% last year and at least 70% of these incidents involve some form of physical aggression.