Drunk plane passenger attacks crew with fake leg

A fake leg was used to attack the flight crew. Picture: Julie Bull
A fake leg was used to attack the flight crew. Picture: Julie Bull
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A flight to Edinburgh was diverted to London after a drunk passenger attacked cabin crew with her prosthetic leg.

The woman, 48, demanded “cigarettes and a parachute” and kicked off when crew asked her to quieten down.

Startled eye-witness John Smith, 48, from Falkirk, said she slapped a young girl in a neighbouring seat before unfastening her leg and swinging it at shocked stewardesses.

The crew managed to restrain her and put her in handcuffs while the pilot of Thomson flight 297 from Enfindha, Tunisia, to Edinburgh, made an emergency landing at Gatwick.

She was then escorted from the plane by cops - as relieved passengers broke into a rousing rendition of the Hokey Cokey.

The mile-high meltdown happened at about 10pm on the Edinburgh-bound flight on Wednesday night.

Father-of-two labourer John said last night: “We were coming back from Tunisia when this lady kicked off. She was off her face on drink.

“She was shouting ‘I want cigarettes’ and that she wanted a parachute to jump off the plane.

“She slapped a young girl and then assaulted the cabin crew with her prosthetic leg.

“They took it off her, but she started kicking them with her good leg.

“It sounds funny, but it was not a laughing matter at the time. It was serious. She was totally drunk. It was pretty shocking.”

Passengers said the woman had been involved in an argument at the resort in Tunisia and the bust-up had escalated on the bus to the airport.

At London Gatwick, waiting police officers escorted the woman off the plane and took statements from passengers.

John said: “When police came on board to escort her off the plane, people started singing the Hokey Cokey.

“She embarrassed everybody on the flight. A lot of people were upset about it, especially those with children.

“We had to sit on the runway for about an hour while the police took statements from passengers.

“The cabin crew were absolutely amazing and very professional in the way they dealt with it.”

He said the flight had originally been due to arrive in Edinburgh at around 11.30pm but they eventually arrived back at around 2.30am yesterday (Thur).

Twitter user @sarahwilsonx tweeted while waiting on the runway on Wednesday night: “Can’t believe were stuck in London because some crazy drunk woman with one leg started a bloody fight.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “At 10.22pm on Wednesday, July 30, a 48-year-old unemployed woman from Edinburgh was arrested at the North Terminal, Gatwick Airport, on suspicion of using threatening behaviour while aboard Thompson flight 297 from Tunisia to Edinburgh.

“The flight was diverted into Gatwick after it was alleged the woman had been abusive and had thrown a prosthetic leg and food at cabin crew.

“The woman is being interviewed and is currently in custody at Crawley police station.”

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “We can confirm that a Thomson flight bound for its destination was diverted to land at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday night.

“Two members of the public were taken away by Sussex Police.”

Passenger John Smith, 48, from Falkirk added: “A woman who was in the same hotel as her that told me that she had kicked off on the bus transfer from hotel to airport. The bus driver even threatened to put her off the bus.

“She was disabled and the family had left her on her own. While they got a taxi, they let her stay on.

“If the airport staff or cabin crew had been alerted to any of this, then the whole situation could have been avoided. They could have at least sat her out of arms - or legs - way.

“I know I can make light of this now, but there was children and passengers extremely upset at the time.”

A spokesman for Thomson Airways said: “We would like to apologise to passengers for the diversion into Gatwick airport of flight TOM 297 travelling from Enfidha, Tunisia to Edinburgh on 30th July.

“Unfortunately a passenger became disruptive on board and as a last resort the Captain decided to divert the flight to Gatwick.

“Upon landing, the aircraft was met by local police and the passenger was removed for questioning.

“We would like to reassure customers that their safety is our priority at all times.

“Thomson Airways operates a zero tolerance policy with regards to any disruptive behaviour on board and incidents of this type are extremely rare.”