Air hostess pardons off-duty pilot who threatened to blow up plane

Lawyer produces waiver in case of drunk suspect who claimed to be carrying bombs on board

Dubai: An air hostess waived her assault and cursing complaint against an off-duty pilot, who will be sentenced next month in his case of drinking and threatening to have an aircraft shot down.

The Emirati off-duty pilot had pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Court of First Instance where he was being tried for drinking, threatening to blow up an Emirates aircraft, assaulting a stewardess, wrecking parts of the plane, gesturing indecently in front of passengers and behaving disruptively.

The suspect’s lawyer argued before the court that prosecution witnesses’ statements were full of inconsistencies and asked the presiding judge to acquit his client and dismiss the charges.

In his defence argument, the lawyer contended that the witnesses’ statements before the court contradicted their original testimonies before prosecutors.

He further provided the court with a written waiver that his client had obtained from the Romanian air hostess, whom he was accused of assaulting and insulting.

In an earlier hearing, the Romanian hostess testified in court that the suspect joked when he was first brought on to the aircraft in June.

“Four staff from the UAE embassy in Spain escorted him to the plane. I was told that he could not stay anymore in Madrid because of residency issues. When he first walked into the plane, he addressed me jokingly by saying ‘I haven’t smoked in 15 minutes’. I replied that smoking was not permitted on the plane. He acted rowdily and ran towards the aircraft’s kitchen, took two beers without permission. He disturbed the passengers, shouting at them and cursing. He also threatened to kill me and claimed that he would blow up the plane because he was carrying explosives,” the hostess testified in court.

Her Uzbek co-worker testified: “The suspect had been behaving in an unruly manner. He took four beers without permission. When we were cruising above Iraq, he said that he had called his friend in Baghdad and asked him to shoot down the plane with a missile. He shouted that we were all going to die.”

During her statement before the three-judge bench, the Romanian witness requested permission to imitate how the suspect committed an indecent gesture — that had a sexual connotation — on-board the aircraft. She also told the court the exact curse words he used.

The defence lawyer asked the court to acquit his client or treat him with leniency when it hands out a judgement on November 14.


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