Dubai: An off-duty pilot got drunk, threatened to blow up an aircraft and assaulted a stewardess, a court heard on Wednesday.
An Emirates flight was flying in from Madrid when a Romanian stewardess encountered the off-duty Emirati pilot, who got drunk and behaved rowdily in June.
Troublemaking started as crew members were embarking passengers and the plane was getting ready for departure, according to records, when the Emirati pilot, who was a passenger, asked the Romanian stewardess if smoking was allowed on the aircraft.
Shortly after being seated, the 27-year-old Emirati allegedly cursed flyers, insulted and assaulted the Romanian and grabbed two beers without the crew members’ permission and consumed more liquor.
When crew members tried to talk the Emirati in to behaving properly and to refrain from using foul language, the Emirati behaved rudely with a passenger and the stewardess restrained him with a plastic handcuff.
Once he was restrained in his seat, the Emirati turned more aggressive and shouted loudly that he would blow up the plane with explosives that he allegedly had on him. The man was also said to have banged his head repeatedly on the TV screen in front of him and destroyed it and damaged a window. He also threatened to chase the Romanian to her house and kill her.
Police apprehended the Emirati suspect once the plane landed at Dubai International Airport.
Prosecutors charged the suspect with getting drunk, behaving rowdily on-board an aircraft and threatening its safety and that of the passengers when he threatened to blow it up. He was additionally charged with threatening to kill the stewardess, cursing crew members and passengers and causing Dh10,000 worth of damage to the Emirates’ properties [TV screen and window].
Prosecutors said the suspect got drunk and endangered the flight’s safety and that of the passengers when he alleged [verbally] that he was carrying explosives that he threatened to detonate while the plane was in the skies. He also punched the stewardess on her chest.
The suspect pleaded guilty when he showed up in the Dubai Court of First Instance on Wednesday.
He asked presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi to adjourn the case until he hires a lawyer to defend him.
The Romanian told prosecutors that the suspect started misbehaving when boarding started at the Madrid airport.
“He seemed to be acting abnormally … he asked me if smoking was allowed, and when I responded negatively, he emphasised that he was aware because he was a pilot. 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. He also threatened to kill me … 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 … he grabbed two more beers and drank one before I took the other from him. A passenger assisted me in restraining the suspect, who banged his head on the TV screen and broke. Police arrested him once we landed,” the stewardess testified to prosecutors.
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.
The trial continues.