Sunwing flight to Cuba forced back to Toronto after disruption
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 9:23PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:20PM EDT
A Sunwing Airlines flight headed to Cuba was forced to turn back to Toronto’s Pearson airport Wednesday after an apparent disruption by two passengers.
In a statement, Sunwing spokesperson Janine Chapman said the flight turned back after two “unruly” female passengers allegedly became disruptive after they had “consumed a significant quantity of their duty free alcohol purchase in the plane’s lavatory.”
Chapman said the passengers lit a cigarette, triggering a smoke alarm, before getting into a “physical altercation with each other.”
The pair also allegedly made a “threat against the aircraft, which was considered non-credible given their condition,” Chapman said.
NORAD confirmed Wednesday night that two Canadian fighter jets escorted the passenger aircraft back to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport as “a precautionary measure.”
Earlier reports suggest the plane was near Florida when it had to turn around.
Police said two women, both in their mid-20s, were arrested and remain in custody. Charges are pending as investigators interview witnesses, Peel police said.
Sunwing Airlines Flight 656 departed at 4:30 p.m., and was en route to Varadero via Manzanillo de Cuba Airport.
NORAD said in the statement that once the aircraft was safely on the ground, the CF-18 fighter jets returned to their home base in Bagotville, Que.
Sunwing said the flight was scheduled to take off again from Pearson at approximately 11 p.m. with a new flight crew.
This is the second time in just over a month that a plane travelling from Toronto has been forced to turn back. On July 25, a Panama-bound plane returned to Pearson Airport after a passenger allegedly made threats while aboard the aircraft.
The man was escorted off the plane by a tactical team of police officers. He was charged with counts of mischief, endangering safety, and uttering threats.
That incident also took place on a Sunwing flight.
Officers at Pearson Airport arrested 2 females after flight diverted back to Toronto for disruptive behaviour onboard.— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPoliceMedia) August 28, 2014