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Phuket authorities unable to confirm ‘Flight from Hell’ arrests
Monday 21 October 2019, 06:48PM
PHUKET: Phuket authorities today were unable to confirm whether any of the three men reportedly handed over to police on landing at Phuket International Airport on Saturday were taken into custody after being hauled off the “Flight from Hell” to Phuket, as dubbed by international media. Two of the men were forcibly separated amid a drunken “blazing row” on board a Nordwinds charter flight from Moscow to Phuket, while the third was allegedly caught smoking a cigarette in one of the toilet cubicles mid-flight on board the aircraft, reported the Daily Mail. The flight was reportedly a no-alcohol flight led, the Daily Mail noted. (See story here.) No leading officers at Phuket Immigration, the Immigration office at Phuket International Airport, Phuket Tourist Police, Sakoo Police Station, which is the police station responsible for making standard arrests at the airport, or even the Tourist Assistance Centre at Phuket airport, which is often involved in or receives reports of arrests made at the terminal, were able to confirm whether any of the three men had been taken into custody. The flight was dubbed the “Flight from Hell” as headlines such as “Terror at 33,000 feet” screamed across the internet after one man attempted to open the emergency exit mid-flight. Passengers tackled the man to prevent him from opening the exit, and seven people were needed to restrain the "wild hooligan”, who was eventually bound by cling film until the plane made an emergency landing in Uzbekistan, said the Daily Mail report. The man, who was also accused of abusing female flight attendants during the flight, was hauled off the Nordwind Airline Boeing 777 by local law enforcement on landing in Uzbeksitan, the report added. “Trouble started several hours after takeoff from Moscow when terrified passengers watched in horror as an intoxicated man in his 30s tried to open an emergency door at 33,000 ft,” said the report. Elena Demidova, a TV reporter on the tourist flight, said in a video filmed on board, “The first half of the flight was normal, but then I noticed strange activity among stewardesses. People in the cabin were whispering to each other that a doctor was called for somebody. “Then on the intercom they asked if anybody had plastic food wrap. This was found and used to subdue the unnamed passenger. The reporter said, “Suddenly the sign ‘fasten your seat belts’ began to flash. Why? Minutes later the captain explained a passenger in the rear of the plane was drunk and rowdy. “A doctor tried to calm him. Then tougher measures were taken. They tried to use plastic food wrap to tie him. Seven people were holding him, but nothing helped.” Russian transport police confirmed the “air hooligan” was handed to Uzbek police in Tashkent, noted the Daily Mail. News agency Rosbalt reported Elena Markovskaya, an official with the Moscow Multi-Regional Transport Investigative Department, as saying that the man had “abused the stewardesses and made the flight really uncomfortable for other passengers”, the Daily Mail added. After a four hour delay in Tashkent, the flight continued, then the two dunken men had to be forcibly separated and the third man was caught smoking in the toilet.