Woman (79) arrested after plane diversion

Woman (79) arrested after plane diversion

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© Pat Flynn 2015
The elderly woman was arrested after an Air Canada flight diverted to Shannon – File Image -© Pat Flynn 2015

An elderly woman was arrested last night after the flight on which she was travelling was forced to divert to Shannon Airport.

It’s understood that the 79-year-old became disruptive on board the transatlantic jet and that at least one cabin crew member was assaulted.

The woman, who is believed to have been travelling in the First Class cabin, had to be restrained by cabin crew members who alerted the flight crew.

The pilot made contacted with the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) North Atlantic Communications Service centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare and advised them of the situation and requested the authorities to be on standby for their arrival in Shannon.

Gardaí and airport police officers were standing by for Air Canada flight ACA-877 when it landed at Shannon at around 8.15pm.

Airport emergency services were standing by at strategic locations along the runway so that they could follow the aircraft once it had landed.

The Boeing 777-300 jet was en route from Frankfurt in Germany to Toronto and was over 1,000 kilometres north west of Shannon when the crew opted to turn around.

The flight looked as it was routing towards the United Kingdom and had been handed over to Scottish air traffic control however, just north of Tory Island off Donegal, the flight turned southwards and began heading towards Shannon.

The crew also dumped aviation fuel over the Atlantic to ensure they could touch down within safe landing weight limits. The crew reported a problem with the fuel dumping procedure which they appear to have resolved later.

The flight touched down safely at 8.14pm and was able to taxi directly to the terminal building where it was met by airport police officers and gardaí.

The woman was arrested and taken to Shannon garda station for questioning.

According to one report on Twitter, the woman ‘went crazy’ and had to be restrained. She is also reported to have scratched and bitten at least one crew member.

A photo of gardaí and fire crews standing around the aircraft at the terminal also appeared on Twitter.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that an 79-year-old woman had been arrested and was being questioned about the incident.

The flight continued its journey shortly after 10.00pm.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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