Thursday, August 9, 2007

Psychotic Reaction Down Under

Sometimes it can be helpful having a former All Black rugby player on your flight - thats exactly what happened this week in New Zealand where Ofisa Junior Tonu'u and another man restrained a man by sitting over him as the flight landed at Wellington Airport on Monday. Apparently the 42 year old man suffers from a mental condition and hadn't taken his tablets so the police are not charging him.

A woman passenger has complained that he was acting "psychotic' and "aggressive" moments before boarding their flight. The woman said the man stormed out of a gate lounge area before boarding in Tokyo. "We were all quite shocked by what had happened. It was so aggressive. All of us were kind of looking down because I felt that if I looked at him he would have punched me. She said she did not tell airline staff about her concerns at the time but became worried and felt guilty when she learned the man went on to punch another passenger on his next flight.

A passenger on the flight to Wellington, a former police superintendent, said he had not made a formal complaint with the airline. But he said he was disturbed by the incident and the airline's handling of it. The man became violent when the plane was coming in to land, punching a man sitting near elderly passengers and a baby, he said. "That to me is very serious and I don't think Air New Zealand have actually played their part. I'm also not happy with women stewards dealing with a violent man. If it takes an 18-stone, super-fit man to subdue him, what can an eight-stone woman do?"

Air New Zealand have said no one in Tokyo or the inflight service director on the Tokyo to Auckland flight spotted anything unusual.

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