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Perth to Melbourne plane forced to turn around mid-flight after naked man runs down aisle

Simon Calder’s Travel

A plane was forced to turn around mid-flight after a naked man ran down the aisle before being tackled by another passenger.

Police said a man has been accused of running naked down the aisle of an Australian domestic flight, knocking down a flight attendant and forcing the plane to turn back.

He was arrested by police at the airport, officials added on Tuesday.

The incident happened early in what was scheduled to be a 3 hour and 30 minute Virgin Australia flight on Monday night from the west coast city of Perth to Melbourne on the east coast.

Flight VA696 returned to Perth Airport due to a “disruptive passenger,” an airline statement said.

Australian Federal Police officers were waiting for the plane and “the disruptive guest was offloaded,” Virgin said.

Police said “officers arrested a man after he allegedly ran naked through the aircraft mid-flight and knocked a crew member to the floor.”

“The man was transferred to hospital for assessment, where he remains,” a police statement said.

It was not clear how or where on the plane the passenger removed his clothes.

A Virgin Airlines plane takes from Melbourne Airport in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 31, 2022
A Virgin Airlines plane takes from Melbourne Airport in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 31, 2022 (AAP Image)

One passenger on board told The Guardian: “All of a sudden I hear this running up the aisle and the guy’s got no clothes on and he’s just charging towards the front of the plane”.

Adding: “Initially you think, God forbid, it could be an attack. It’s really distressing being on a plane in that situation.”

Police expect to order the man by summons to appear in a Perth court on June 14. What charges he will face have yet to be announced.

The airline said sorry to “guests impacted,” adding the safety of passengers and crew was its top priority.

Virgin Australia said: “We can confirm on Monday, 27 May, VA696 Perth to Melbourne, returned to Perth due to a disruptive passenger on board.”

“On arrival in Perth, the aircraft was met by the Australian Federal Police and the disruptive guest was offloaded,” the statement read.

“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we sincerely apologise to guests impacted.”

Nobody is believed to have been injured during the incident.

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