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Mumbai-bound Air India flight passenger booked for smoking in flight, unruly behaviour

Crew members had to reportedly tie passenger's hand and legs

Air India Representational image | Reuters

A passenger on board an Air India flight to Mumbai from London was handed over to security personnel for allegedly smoking in the lavatory and unruly behaviour, the airline said on Sunday.

The incident, which took place on March 10, has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Air India said in a statement.

"A passenger on our flight AI130, operating London-Mumbai on March 10, was found smoking in the lavatory. Subsequently, he behaved in an unruly and aggressive manner, despite repeated warnings," Air India said.

According to ANI, the passenger was identified as Ramakant (37), a US citizen. Besides smoking in the flight's lavatory, Ramakant also allegedly attempted to open the aircraft's door. A flight crew member reportedly said they had to tie his hands and legs and made him sit on the seat. 

"Smoking is not allowed on the flight but as he went to the bathroom, the alarm started to ring and when we all crew ran towards the bathroom, we saw he had a cigarette in his hand. We immediately threw the cigarette from his hand. Then Ramakant started shouting at all our crew members. Somehow we took him to his seat. But after some time he tried to open the door of the aircraft. All the passengers got scared because of his behaviour and he started acting gimmick on the flight. He was not ready to listen to us and was shouting. Then we tied his hands and legs and made him sit on the seat," ANI reported quoting the crew member's statement to Sahar Police. 

He was handed over to security personnel upon the flight's arrival in Mumbai, the airline said, adding the "regulator has been duly informed of the incident". "We are extending all cooperation in the ongoing investigations," it added.

According to reports, the passenger faces charges under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 336 (whoever does any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others) and Aircraft Act 1937, 22 (refuse to follow a lawful instruction given by the Pilot-in-Command), 23 (Assault and other acts endangering safety or jeopardizing good order and discipline) and 25 (for smoking). 

Tata Group-owned Air India was penalised twice in January this year by the aviation safety regulator DGCA for not reporting two separate incidents of unruly passenger behaviour on its international flights.

"Air India follows a zero-tolerance policy for any behaviour that compromises the safety and security of passengers and staff," the airline said in the statement on Sunday. 

(With PTI inputs.)


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