A family smokes on plane, forces it to land, gets arrested

Updated Feb. 4, 2013 at 3:35 PM
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A family of smokers was arrested after they refused to put out their cigarettes aboard a flight, forcing the pilot to perform an emergency landing, My Fox 8 reported.

The plane was traveling from Halifax to the Dominican Republic, but was forced to land in Bermuda, Friday night after a family of three refused to stop smoking on Sunwing's flight 454.

“It appeared to be a father, a mother and a son,” Inspector Paul Simons told CBC News. “The parents appear to be in their 50s. The son, I believe, is around 22 or so.”

The trio was allegedly smoking inside the plane's lavatory, and got into an argument with the flight attendant when they came out, according to witnesses.

"They were smoking in the plane's washroom and when they came out they got into a little bit of an argument with the attendants," said Dave Shellington, whose wife had been on the plane and told him about the incident. "They couldn't say where they put their cigarette butts and that caused a bit of a commotion, I guess. From there it kind of escalated with the father, the mother and the son."

Simons told CBC the plane was grounded so that Canadian-trained mechanics could inspect the aircraft for undetermined reasons.

After the emergency landing, the family was removed from the plane by police, taken to the station and released on bail, CBC reported. They were ordered to stay in the island and had their passports and travel documents seized by local authorities.

The rest of the passengers and flight crew were put in a hotel, and the plane has been re-scheduled to leave on Saturday.

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