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"Mutiny on Flight 613


"Mutiny on Flight 613
Passengers refuse to allow holiday jet to take off until two Asian men are thrown off plane

By CHRISTOPHER LEAKE and ANDREW CHAPMAN 23:42pm 19th August 2006
Source Daily Mail, UK
"British holidaymakers staged an unprecedented mutiny - refusing to allow their flight to take off until two men they feared were terrorists were forcibly removed.

The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic.

Passengers told cabin crew they feared for their safety and demanded police action. Some stormed off the Monarch Airlines Airbus A320 minutes before it was due to leave the Costa del Sol at 3am. Others waiting for Flight ZB 613 in the departure lounge refused to board it.

The incident fuels the row over airport security following the arrest of more than 20 people allegedly planning the suicide-bombing of transatlantic jets from the UK to America. It comes amid growing demands for passenger-profiling and selective security checks.

It also raised fears that more travellers will take the law into their own hands - effectively conducting their own 'passenger profiles'.

The passenger revolt came as Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary was accused of using the terror crisis to make money. Government sources say he boasted to an official at the Transport Department: "Every time I appear on TV, I get a spike in sales."

The Tories said the Government's failure to reassure travellers had led the Malaga passengers to 'behave irrationally' and 'hand a victory to terrorists'.

Websites used by pilots and cabin crew were yesterday reporting further incidents. In one, two British women with young children on another flight from Spain complained about flying with a bearded Muslim even though he had been security-checked twice before boarding.

The trouble in Malaga flared last Wednesday as two British citizens in their 20s waited in the departure lounge to board the pre-dawn flight and were heard talking what passengers took to be Arabic. Worries spread after a female passenger said she had heard something that alarmed her.

Passengers noticed that, despite the heat, the pair were wearing leather jackets and thick jumpers and were regularly checking their watches.

Initially, six passengers refused to board the flight. On board the aircraft, word reached one family. To the astonishment of cabin crew, they stood up and walked off, followed quickly by others.

The Monarch pilot - a highly experienced captain - accompanied by armed Civil Guard police and airport security staff, approached the two men and took their passports.

Half an hour later, police returned and escorted the two Asian passengers off the jet.

'There was no fuss or panic'

Soon afterwards, the aircraft was cleared while police did a thorough security sweep. Nothing was found and the plane took off - three hours late and without the two men on board.

Monarch arranged for them to spend the rest of the night in an airport hotel and flew them back to Manchester later on Wednesday.

College lecturer Jo Schofield, her husband Heath and daughters Emily, 15, and Isabel, 12, were caught up in the passenger mutiny.

Mrs Schofield, 38, said: "The plane was not yet full and it became apparent that people were refusing to board. In the gate waiting area, people had been talking about these two, who looked really suspicious with their heavy clothing, scruffy, rough, appearance and long hair.

"Some of the older children, who had seen the terror alert on television, were starting to mutter things like, 'Those two look like they're bombers.'

"Then a family stood up and walked off the aircraft. They were joined by others, about eight in all. We learned later that six or seven people had refused to get on the plane.

"There was no fuss or panic. People just calmly and quietly got off the plane. There were no racist taunts or any remarks directed at the men.

"It was an eerie scene, very quiet. The children were starting to ask what was going on. We tried to play it down." ................


Entry #527


emilygComment by emilyg - August 19, 2006, 11:08 pm
that's what our world has become.
konaneComment by konane - August 19, 2006, 11:17 pm
Yes and it won't get any better until we name the problem and address it.

If terrorists were of any faction of Christianity, my bet is the entire world would outlaw that religion. "Racism" and all convenient buzz word clichAcs would NOT apply.   

Yet they gawk and tiptoe around the real problem as if it's going away.

I applaud these people and their actions.
Comment by pacattack05 - August 20, 2006, 12:02 am
Common sense rule 101,
Never speak Arabic on a plane when there is an orange alert.

Common sense rule 102,
If you can't speak english, shave your beard, wear a suit, and don't say anything at all....LOL

But seriously, I'm for profiling, but I think the people went a little too far. The ONLY reason I say this is by the jokes I made above. If terrorist were planning something on a plane, they wouldn't even be speaking to each other, and definitely not in arabic. They wouldn't pace around constantly checking their watches, and so forth.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be focusing on behavior such as these and others, but take common sense into the equation. The terrorists are lost, and troubled souls, but they're not stupid.

Evil strikes when least expected.
Comment by shalini - August 20, 2006, 12:33 am
quite right pac...however I feel that burkha clad people should be checked very thoroughly as you never know if there's a man or woman under the damn thing.......as a rule I never hire any muslim servants.......I'm not comfortable with them in my home any more......also have admit that till a few yrs ago I was genuinely a secular Indian...post terrorist problems in our country and the attitude of the majority of the muslims in our country, I can't claim to feel the same towards them any more!
justxploringComment by justxploring - August 20, 2006, 2:02 am
My father is 92, a WWII veteran and a Jew. So I guess most people would say he's the last person to evoke suspicion as a terrorist. Last year, even before the latest increase in security, he was flying to a wedding after recovering from a hip operation. After getting out of the wheelchair and using his cane to hobble to the gate, he checked his one carry-on bag and was asked to sit down and remove his shoes. He told me later "I could have been carrying explosives in my cane and they never checked it."

All the precautions in the world won't help if the people checking passengers don't use common sense.
Comment by shalini - August 20, 2006, 2:57 am
well, a couple of yrs ago I accidentally carried a swiss knife on my way to Colombo...I wasn't stopped either at new delhi or at the sri lankan airport...however, this summer on my flight back from hong kong they confiscated my nail cutter if you please....it was in my toilet kit and and I had transited the same airport a few weeks earlier on my way to australia..........the authorities at australia are very strict but they allowed the nail cutter while miss Peggy Lee confiscated it!

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