MIAMI — An off-duty Emirati Pilot threatened to blow up an Airbus A380 it was flying as a passenger and assaulted a flight attendant.
According to several sources in the UAE, the Pilot was traveling from Madrid to Dubai. During the boarding process, he asked a Flight Attendant whether smoking was permitted on the flight.
After takeoff, the 27-year-old Pilot began cursing at other passengers, insulted and assaulted a Romanian Flight Attendant, and grabbed two beers without the permission of the attending crew members.
The off-duty Pilot continued misbehaving and, following an unsuccessful attempt to calm him down, the flight attendants were forced to restrain him with plastic handcuffs.
Following the restraint, the Pilot turned more aggressive and began threatening to blow up the plane with explosives that he supposedly had on him.
He also threatened the Romanian Flight Attendant to “chase her and kill her.”
The airline confirmed the altercation happened through a statement. “Emirates can confirm that on June 1, 2018, an incident occurred during flight EK144 from Madrid to Dubai, whereby an unruly passenger was restrained by cabin crew.”
“The passenger was met by authorities in Dubai on arrival. The safety of our passengers and crew is of critical importance and will not be compromised. The matter is now before the courts, and Emirates cannot comment further on the incident,” the statement concluded.
According to witnesses, the Pilot banged his head numerous times against the IFE screen on his seat, damaging it together with the window.
Once the plane landed in Dubai, the suspect was taken under arrest.
Emirati prosecutors charged the Pilot with unruly conduct, getting drunk on a plane, endangering the flight’s safety, and punching a Flight Attendant on her chest.
Following the court hearing last Wednesday, the Pilot pleaded guilty. According to Gulf News, “he asked presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi to adjourn the case until he hires a lawyer to defend him.”
The Romanian Flight Attendant declared that the Pilot’s unruly conduct began during the boarding process in Madrid.
“He seemed to be acting abnormally … he asked me if smoking was allowed, and when I responded negatively, he emphasized that he was aware of it because he was a pilot,” she said.
“A few hours after take-off, he started acting rowdily. He ran towards the aircraft’s kitchen, took two beers without permission (…) he disturbed the passengers’ comfort, shouted, and cursed.”
The Flight Attendant also revealed that the Pilot had threatened to kill her “and claimed that he would blow up the plane because he was carrying explosives.”
“When I demanded him to remain seated, he shouted loudly … he headed to the washroom that was occupied and banged the door loudly. The woman who was inside, came out petrified and returned to her seat,” she explained.
The Pilot then grabbed two more beers and drank one before the Flight Attendant took the other from him, according to her declaration.
“A passenger assisted me in restraining the suspect, who banged his head on the TV screen and broke it.”
When questioned by police and prosecutors, the suspect admitted he kicked the window and banged his head on the TV screen, cursed the crew members and flyers and threatened them.
According to the prosecutors, the estimated value of the pilot’s damages climbs to up to USD $2,700.
The trial will continue and the Pilot’s sentencing and subsequent punishment are yet to be determined.