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Scotch-stealing escape artist prompts flight detour

A an alleged Scotch-stealing passenger on a Bangkok-Sydney flight was detained by undercover Australian police, but he busted through four pairs of handcuffs.

By Ben Hooper
Scotch-stealing escape artist prompts flight detour
A Qantas Boeing 747-400. (UPI/Adrian Pingstone)

CAIRNS, Australia, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A drunken Houdini aboard a Qantas flight from Bangkok to Australia stole whisky and escaped four sets of handcuffs, witnesses said.

Passengers aboard Flight QF24 said the flight was redirected to Cairns around 5:45 a.m. Sunday, about an hour before it was due to touch down in Sydney, and the man was escorted off the plane by about seven Australian Federal Police officers.

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The passengers said the man repeatedly tried to steal Scotch whisky from the cabin crew and eventually became unruly following several unsuccessful booze heists.

The man, who witnesses said appeared to be in his 20s, was detained by two undercover AFP officers on the flight and a flight attendant reportedly told passengers the man had escaped from four sets of plastic "flexi-cuffs" before the decision was made to redirect the flight, which was delayed by more than two hours due to the detour.

Qantas confirmed the flight had been diverted "due to an intoxicated passenger" and the passenger was arrested by Australian Federal Police.

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