TOKYO: A US-bound ANA plane had to return to Tokyo after an intoxicated passenger bit a cabin attendant mid-flight, the Japanese carrier said Wednesday.
The passenger, reportedly a 55-year-old man believed to be American, sunk his teeth into crew member’s arm while “heavily drunk”, leaving her mildly injured, an All Nippon Airways spokesman told AFP.
The incident prompted pilots of the plane with 159 passengers on board to turn back over the Pacific to Haneda airport, where the man was handed over to police, according to ANA.
Japanese broadcaster TBS quoted the passenger as telling investigators that he “doesn’t recall at all” his behaviour.
The incident left some social media users likening it in mock horror to the “beginning of a zombie movie”.
- Alaska Air plane blowout: US Federal officials order grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners
- Fog-related flight delays: ‘War Rooms’ will be set at six metro airports in India
- Video: Passenger hits pilot announcing flight delay in Delhi, complaint lodged
- Accident on Alaska Airlines: Twisted metal, rushing wind, a narrowly avoided disaster as jet's wall rips away at 3 miles high
Others lamented the litany of Japanese aviation woes so far this year — with four other incidents making headlines in just over two weeks.
The most serious was a near-catastrophic collision at Haneda between a Japan Airlines aircraft and a smaller coast guard plane on January 2.
All 379 people on board the JAL Airbus escaped just before the aircraft was engulfed in flames.
Five of the six people on the smaller aircraft, which was helping in a relief operation after a major earthquake in central Japan, died.
Then on Tuesday, the wing tip of a Korean Air airliner struck an empty Cathay Pacific plane while taxiing at an airport in the northern island of Hokkaido.
Korean Air said the accident, which caused no injuries, happened after “the third-party ground handler vehicle slipped due to heavy snow.”
A similar mishap took place on Sunday when an ANA aircraft came into “contact” with a Delta Air Lines plane at a Chicago airport, the Japanese airline told AFP, also causing no injuries.
Another ANA flight reportedly had to turn back on Saturday after a crack was discovered on the cockpit window of the Boeing 737-800.
“Wing strike” incidents “do happen” because many airports are handling bigger planes than they were built for, Doug Drury, aviation expert at Central Queensland University, told AFP.
“The cracked window incident may have been caused by a faulty window heat system as the temperatures are quite extreme at altitude,” he added.
“This is not uncommon and has happened to me during my career.”