Man charged after alleged unruly behaviour forces Sunwing flight to turn back
Taline McPhedran, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, July 7, 2017 4:54PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 7, 2017 8:47PM EDT
A 39-year-old man has been charged after a Sunwing flight heading to Cuba from Montreal was forced to turn back when he allegedly became unruly and uttered threats.
Charalabos ‘Bobby’ Nassios appeared in court on Friday to face charges of assault, death threats and threats to aviation security during a flight Thursday evening.
Nassios was immediately taken into police custody once flight WG604, headed to Cayo Coco, Cuba, landed back at Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport.
According to Montreal police spokesperson Andree-Anne Picard, Nassios was allegedly drinking alcohol and disturbing passengers. Police also said he had made non-specific threats that were not terrorism related but caused the flight to turn back.
Robert and Lorraine Racette were both on the flight. They said a man waiting to board the plane appeared drunk and made rude gestures. They said he became angrier and more aggressive after a 50 minute delay.
Other passengers told CTV Montreal that the man was throwing magazines and being aggressive toward flight attendants.
The plane was intercepted by two U.S. Air Force F-15 jets over Albany, N.Y. and was escorted back to Montreal, according to NORAD spokesman Lt. Commander Joe Nawrocki.
Nassios is also facing a breach of condition charge related to former charges that include operating a vehicle while impaired, refusing to provide a breath sample and carrying, using or threatening to use a weapon, according to his lawyer Alexandra Mathers Clermont.
In several Facebook posts, Nassios made it clear that he was on his way to Cayo Coco, posting a picture of the gate’s departure board as well as a map from Montreal to Cuba.
He also made several expletive-filled posts and posted a photo of himself giving the middle finger on an airplane bridge. One post read, “Sometimes saying f*ck the world is worth it. Like now.”
The flight left Montreal on Thursday evening with 170 passengers. Upon return to Montreal at about 7:25 p.m. Thursday, Sunwing provided hotel and meal vouchers to inconvenienced passengers before they departed once again around 4:50 a.m. on Friday.
This is not the first time Sunwing has had to turn back from Cuba because of unruly passengers. In 2014, two women were allegedly drinking a significant amount of alcohol on the flight before lighting a cigarette in the bathroom. It is alleged they then proceeded to get into an altercation with each other before making threats against the plane. The flight also had a military escort back to Canada.
With files from CTV Montreal and The Canadian Press.