Canary flight aborts minutes before take-off after man reprimanded for no mask “punches” fellow passenger
A holiday flight in the Canary Islands had to be aborted just minutes before take-off after mask rage broke out on board.
The Air Europa plane heading for the Spanish
mainland was already on the runway in Gran Canaria when the commotion erupted.
According to the Spanish press, the pilot
aborted take-off and went back to a hangar because of a fight.
All passengers were seated when one of them
noticed a man near him was not wearing a mask which is obligatory under the
current coronavirus rules except in special circumstances.
The passenger asked the man to put it on but
he refused to listen to him and an argument broke out. According to witnesses,
it escalated and ended when the man who was reproached “threw a
punch” at the other passenger.
It was at this stage that the pilot decided to
abort the flight which had been heading for Madrid and asked for the police to
be called in.
The Air Europa plane was delayed for 40
minutes until security had dealt with the incident.
National police reportedly boarded the plane
and spoke to the passenger involved about contravening health and safety
regulations and putting other people at risk.
Air Europa has been asked to comment on the
incident but the company’s website clearly says masks have to be worn unless
for specific health reasons.
Mask rage has happened a number of times on
flights over the last few weeks.
In August, two Brits were arrested in Spain
for refusing to put on their masks whilst on an Iberian flight from Tenerife to
Madrid and ignoring the pilot’s plea.
They were said to have repeatedly walked up
and down the aisle to go to the toilet, wearing face masks around their necks
and “waving” at other passengers.
Last week, a “disruptive” passenger
on board a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Tenerife was arrested after an
altercation with Civil Guard officers after landing.
It’s alleged that the man, understood to be
Irish, attacked four police officers when told to put on a mask. All four were
said to have been injured and two had to take medical leave.
On the same day, a holiday flight from
Scotland to Tenerife was involved in a mid-air drama due to “a group of
conflicting passengers on board”. The incident was believed to have been
linked to a mask issue.
And in a third incident, two female passengers
were thrown off a plane which was about to leave Lanzarote to head to Barcelona
for refusing to wear masks.