Dubai: An air hostess claimed that she feared for her life, as she recounted in court on Wednesday, how an off-duty pilot got drunk and threatened to have the aircraft downed by an Iraqi missile.
The Emirati off-duty pilot had earlier showed up in the Dubai Court of First Instance where he was being tried for drinking, threatening to blow up an Emirates aircraft, assaulting a stewardess, wrecking parts of the plane, gesturing indecently in front of passengers and behaving disruptively.
“The plane took off from Madrid and was bound for Dubai. The suspect had been behaving in an unruly and troublesome manner. He had taken four cans of beer without permission. When we were cruising above Iraq, he said that he had called his friend in Baghdad and asked him to shoot down the plane with a missile. He shouted that we were all going to die. After having been restrained and made to take his seat, he told me that a VIP will be waiting for us at the airport and will have us all fired. I felt scared for myself and my family and was also afraid of losing my job. I still am,” said the Uzbek air hostess as she testified before presiding judge Arafa Mohammad.
Meanwhile, her Romanian co-worker [a cabin supervisor] also recounted in courtroom three how the suspect joked when he was first brought on to the aircraft in June.
“Four staff from the UAE Embassy in Spain escorted him to the plane. I was told that he could not stay anymore in Madrid because of residency issues. When he first walked into the plane, he addressed me jokingly by saying ‘I haven’t smoked in 15 minutes’. I replied that smoking is not permitted on the plane. His response was that he is a pilot himself and knows the rules and regulations. He acted rowdily and ran towards the aircraft’s kitchen, took two beers without permission. He disturbed the passengers, shouting at them and cursing. He also threatened to kill me and claimed that he would blow up the plane because he was carrying explosives. He headed to the washroom that was occupied and banged the door. The woman who was inside came out petrified and returned to her seat,” she testified.
During her statement before the three-judge bench, the Romanian witness requested permission to imitate how the suspect committed an indecent gesture — that had a sexual connotation — on-board the aircraft. She also told the court the exact curse words he used.
The cabin supervisor further testified how a passenger assisted her in restraining the suspect, who banged his head on the TV screen and broke it.
One of the witnesses said the suspect remained restrained for 5 hours and 40 minutes until he was handed over to Dubai Police upon landing.
Presiding judge Mohammad adjourned the hearing until October 24.