Fighter jets escort Cuba-bound flight back to Toronto after mid-flight disruption
Paul Johnston, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 9:16PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:27PM EDT
Charges are pending against two women after a flight bound for Cuba was forced back to Toronto under fighter jet escort Wednesday night.
Peel police said that the 4:30 p.m. Sunwing Airlines flight bound for Varadero was forced to return to Toronto Pearson International Airport after a mid-flight disruption involving two women.
Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets based out of Bagotville, Que., escorted the plane, which was forced to turn back over North Carolina.
“This is Norad’s regular procedure,” Maj. Julie Roberge, with Norad, said of the response. “Under an abundance of caution, the jets were launched to monitor the situation from the air.”
The jets have since returned to their home base, Roberge said.
The women, believed to be in their 20s, were arrested when the plane arrived back in Toronto at around 8:30 p.m.
“At this point, there haven’t been any charges laid, however they are pending,” Peel police Const. George Tudos said.
“We’re still investigating exactly what occurred on that plane and we will be speaking with other passengers,” he said.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, a representative with Sunwing said that the plane was diverted after a smoke alarm was triggered.
"It is reported that the passengers consumed a significant quantity of their duty-free alcohol purchase in the lavatory and lit a cigarette, triggering the smoke detector alarm,” Sunwing’s Janice Chapman said.
“These passengers proceeded to get into a physical altercation with each other and made a threat against the aircraft, which was considered non-credible given their condition. Our flight crew followed the appropriate procedures and the aircraft was diverted back to Toronto where it has now landed.”
The flight was expected to take off again at around 11 p.m., the statement said. Customers will be provided complimentary meal vouchers.
“We are very apologetic for the inconvenience experienced by our customers and thankful to our flight crew for their efforts to safely manage the situation,” the statement concludes.