An Air Canada flight was forced to turn back mid-flight Thursday after a Canadian passenger violently assaulted a flight attendant. John Svab, 57, of Hamilton, Ontario, reportedly threatened and attacked the flight attendant, who had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police said they received a call about a violent passenger on board the Budapest-bound flight at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday. When it landed back at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, police arrested Svab.
“When we attended the scene, we learned that the passenger was unruly and he has since been arrested and taken into custody for assault,” Peel police constable Mark Fischer told the Toronto Star.
Svab was charged with making death threats, aggravated assault and endangering an aircraft while in flight. He was scheduled to appear in a Brampton, Ontario, court Thursday.
“My understanding is that the unruly passenger was possibly drinking,” Fischer said.
Police constable Bancroft Wright said Svab hurt the flight attendant after he became disruptive.
“There was an altercation when he was being controlled,” Wright told Canada’s Global News. “During that altercation one of the stewardesses was injured.”
Police provided no additional details about how the altercation began or what exactly ensued on board, though they noted there was an investigation opened into the incident. The 267 passengers on the flight were booked onto another jet scheduled to depart Thursday.
The altercation aboard the Air Canada plane was not the first time in recent days that a passenger has disrupted a flight. A Spirit Airlines flight taking off from Las Vegas in late July was delayed after a passenger decided to strip naked and chat up a flight attendant.
“He removed his clothes and then approached a flight attendant,” McCarren International Airport spokesman Chris Jones told reporters at the time. “Metro officers were called and he was given medical attention.”
The flight was delayed by a half hour as police removed the passenger and investigated the incident. It remained unclear, in that instance, if the passenger was charged for his actions on the flight, though police noted he received medical treatment after being removed from the plane.