Pope problems: Francis' plane lasered; loses cool amid crowd in Mexico

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Feb. 17, 2016 at 2:07 PM
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MORELIA, Mexico, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Pope Francis seemingly lost his cool after he was grabbed by a spectator in a crowd and nearly fell. The incident happened one day before another Alitalia airline revealed his trip to Mexico had earlier been beset by another problem -- a laser pointed at his airplane.

Before landing in Mexico City on Friday, Francis' plane was subjected to a laser light from the ground as it prepared for landing. Laser attacks, although generally harmless, can still lead to danger if the lasers blind the pilots.

The flight, arriving from Havana, Cuba, landed safely and without injury to passengers and crew, the airline said Wednesday.

The pope's safety was perhaps more at risk Tuesday when he greeted crowds at a stadium in the city of Morelia. Someone took hold of the pontiff and he or she wouldn't let go, causing Francis to stumble onto a young man in a wheelchair in front of him.

Francis regained his balance but was still jostling the crowd away. His usual smile turned tense.

"Don't be selfish! Don't be selfish!" Francis said, as his security detail attempted to rectify the situation.

Morelia is in Mexico's Michoacán state, which is blighted by drug violence.

Minutes after the incident, an announcement was made over the stadium's speaker system:

"We are asking you to be careful," the announcer said. "Please contain yourself. Pope Francis wants to greet us, but if we pile up, it will be difficult to do so."

Francis will conclude his trip to Mexico in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, where he will deliver a mass focused on the plight of migrants on Wednesday.

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