In a phone interview this afternoon [Feb 5], one of the McNeills told CBC News she was at an airport in Bermuda with her husband and two sons waiting for a flight home.
The family told the Canadian media when they return to Canada, they will tell their side of the story. “Not at this point, I can’t,” said the mother. “We definitely have things to say, but at this point we just want to get our family home.”
The flight — which left Canada heading to the Dominican Republic — diverted to Bermuda at approximately 9.00pm on Friday night [Feb 1].
The three McNeills were arrested by police and taken to the Airport Police Station. They were held for a few hours, and released at about 2am.
Three of the family members — David McNeill Sr , Donna McNeill , David McNeill Jr  — appeared in Magistrates Court yesterday where they were charged with offences including disobeying lawful commands of the crew of an aircraft and smoking in a toilet when smoking is prohibited.
The Court heard the defendants used profane language towards the crew, moved about the cabin when asked not to, allegedly smoked on the flight and one defendant told the crew, “You f—- a$%#oles, I just pissed all over your floor.”
The father pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner to the crew of an aircraft, and the mother pleaded guilty to disobeying lawful commands of the crew of an aircraft. The oldest son was charged with smoking on the aircraft, which he denied. There was a younger son traveling with them who was not involved in the fracas.
Sunwing’s Daryl McWilliams said the airline had to put up some 180 passengers overnight in Bermuda and bring in a mechanic — and it may try to recover those costs — estimated at some $50,000 — in a civil suit.
In their Court appearance, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner fined the two parents $500 each, and ordered that the fines be paid immediately or they would could face up to 10 days in prison
The diversion has headlined almost all the Canadian news outlets, and also been covered by numerous other major international media groups including Time Magazine, Huffington Post, Gawker, Daily Mail, the popular gossip blog Perez Hilton and more.
As the only media outlet to have footage of the passengers disembarking and the family being released from police custody after the diversion, Bernews has been inundated with requests from the Canadian media for the footage.
Although this was an unusual situation, there have been a few other cases of airlines diverting due to issues with passengers.
In 2010 a flight — also traveling to the Dominican Republic — was diverted to Bermuda due to an unruly passenger who was kicking and biting the staff. The passenger, a 45-year-old English woman, was lead away from the airport in handcuffs.
She remained custody in Bermuda she was flown back to the UK on a commercial flight under the escort of two Bermuda Police Service officers. She was convicted in a U.K. Court and ordered to pay £2,476 [$4,100] costs to the Bermuda Police.
Last summer an intoxicated passenger forced a transatlantic Air Canada flight from London to Calgary to divert and land in Edmonton. The passenger was restrained to his seat with wrist straps and duct tape.
It is not only passengers who have created issues, with a squabble between two flight attendants forcing a United Airlines flight bound for Chicago to return to Raleigh-Durham International Airport last year.
- Airline Passengers Released On Police Bail
- Unruly Passengers Cause Airplane Diversion
- Recalling The Other Unruly Passenger Diversion
- Smokers Diversion ‘Very Expensive’ For Sunwing
- Canadian Family Deny Smoking On Airline
- Canadian Family Charged Over Airline Incident
Articles that link to this one:
- Recalling The Other Unruly Passenger Diversion | Bernews.com | February 7, 2013