Jet Makes U-Turn to Toronto After Passenger's Threats
Suspect's father says his son is unstable but not violent
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2014 6:15 AM CDT
File photo   (AP Photo/Matthew Hewitt)

(Newser) – Passengers flying from Toronto to Panama had to make a U-turn just 45 minutes into their flight yesterday after a man aboard the plane started yelling about bombing Canada, reports the CBC. The captain felt threatened enough to notify NORAD, and two US fighter jets escorted the Sunwing Airlines jet as it returned to the airport. Police then stormed the plane and arrested 25-year-old Canadian citizen Ali Shahi and charged him with endangering the safety of an aircraft and uttering threats.

“I am sorry for what happened on the flight, but Ali is not at fault," his father tells CTV. "I blame the police and health system." He said his son has mental health issues but has never been violent, adding, “24 times in the last three years we have called police.” Eyewitnesses say Shahi's outburst came as a flight attendant made the rounds to distribute headsets. After declaring that he hated Canada, he said, "with great expression using his hands, 'I just want to bomb Canada,'" says a fellow passenger. The Globe and Mail notes that the mess actually turned out well for two passengers who missed the morning flight—they were able to get to Panama on the delayed flight in the afternoon.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Jul 27, 2014 2:17 PM CDT
Surprise! those crazy Canadians and their universal healthcare, how different is he from Rob Ford
Jul 27, 2014 12:46 AM CDT
If he had 24 police incidents in the past how did he end up on a plane?
Jul 26, 2014 7:41 PM CDT
What a shame that one person can negatively affect so many. He said his son has mental health issues but has never been violent, adding, “24 times in the last three years we have called police." What? Let's see, I have two children and between the two them there are 75 years of life. I have never once had to call the police on them. If I was on that flight here's how it comes down: Mr. Shahi is administered a left-hook tranqilizer, and propped up in a window seat and remains a model citizen/passenger there till we land in Panama. And I get to eat his portion of peanuts, pretzels and soft drinks for the duration of the flight. Subsequent left-hook tranquilizing therapy is administered during the flight as needed. After the flight lands in beautiful Panama, we deboard and all remark what a wonderful and uneventful flight it was, and anxiously anticipate the exciting adventures surely to be experienced while there. I inform the flight attendants that I cannot wake the fellow in the seat next to me and may need assistance. Overwhelming numbers passengers on the flight leave glowing and positive remarks regarding the enjoyable flight on comment cards. Sunwing Airlines' stocks soar the next day. Mr. Shahi deboards a half hour later on a gurney. What a great day it is!