Mayday Call, Emergency Landing Prompted by Gin-Drinking Passenger’s Assault on Cabin Crew
A 42-year-old passenger’s disruptive behavior, fueled by consuming three-quarters of a bottle of Gordon’s Gin, during a British Airways flight from Malaga to Heathrow Airport has led to a mayday call for priority landing and an eight-month jail sentence, My London reported on Friday.
Isleworth Crown Court heard that the incident occurred on October 4, when Gurpreet Dhillon and his wife returned from Spain and the two engaged in an argument. According to My London, Dhillon had bought a large bottle of Gordon’s Gin from the duty-free shop and drank it both before and during the flight.
Related: Gordon’s Gin Review
Dhillon’s profanity-laden behavior in front of families caught the attention of the cabin crew, prompting flight attendant Dan Meager to intervene. My London reported that Dhillon responded by forcefully pushing Meager twice, causing him to fall onto a passenger and sustain injuries. The manager confiscated the gin bottle and, with the help of Dhillon’s brother, managed to subdue his intoxicated behavior.
However, minutes before the scheduled landing, Dhillon’s disruptive behavior resumed, causing significant concern among passengers for their safety.
“The crew were so scared that it caused the captain to make a mayday call to aircraft control to seek priority landing,” Judge Kuljit Bhogal KC stated, per My London. “Clearly, the circumstances were sufficiently serious to warrant that action.”
Upon landing, Dhillon was immediately arrested. According to reports, he later pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft, assault by beating and acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.
The court revealed Dhillon’s previous convictions for alcohol-related offenses, including an eight-year sentence in 2009 for causing death by dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Recognizing Dhillon’s history, the court acknowledged his struggles with alcoholism, which worsened after the death of a friend. According to My London, Dhillon has recently abstained from alcohol, is undergoing therapy to address his post-traumatic stress disorder and had attended AA meetings.
Still, Judge Bhogal emphasized the “extremely serious nature” of Dhillon’s actions, which could have resulted in “unforeseen but potentially catastrophic consequences,” per the report. As a result, he was sentenced to eight months in prison, with a requirement to serve half of the sentence before being eligible for release.
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