A SWAT team stormed a jet after the harrowing flight returned to Toronto. Sunwing Airlines flight 772 had a two fight jet escort accompany the Boeing 737 after it changed course over West Virginia. The plane originally departed Toronto headed to Panama City, but a passenger threatening to bomb Canada created a frightening experience for fellow passengers.
As CNN reports, the bomb threat occurred about 45 minutes into the flight. The passenger, a Canadian citizen, made a “direct threat against the aircraft,” says Sunwing spokeswoman Janine Chapman. Ali Shahi, 25, was arrested Friday by SWAT team members at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
Witnesses tell Canada’s CTV News Toronto that the suspect wanted to bomb the nation of Canada.
Sadegh Shahi immediately thought to himself when he heard about the ordeal, “it’s probably my son.” He wasn’t surprised to learn he was right.
Shahi says that Ali isn’t a violent person and had no intention of causing harm. He reveals that his son is mentally ill and hasn’t gotten the support he needs. The 25-year-old doesn’t have any friends, suffers from depression, is unemployed and is a gambling addict.
Shahi says of his son:
“Ali thinks life is a game. We’ve called the cops 24 times in the past year on him. We’ve begged police for help, but they never do anything. They always send him back home.”
Ali’s father continues:
“In high school, he was fat. He was bullied until he became anorexic.”
According to Constable Lillian Fitzpatrick of Peel Regional Police, Ali Shahi’s charges include endangering the safety of an aircraft, mischief to property, and mischief or interfering with the lawful enjoyment of property. On Saturday, he was released on $1,000 bond.
As if a bomb threat and being faced with a SWAT team on the jet isn’t enough for passengers, flight 772 was diverted again. This time it was in Jamaica due to a medical emergency. The whole flight was delayed by 12 hours by the end of it all. The plane landed safely at 9:41 pm local time at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport.
You can see the drama unfold in the video above when the SWAT team storms the jet above in footage a passenger recorded with a cell phone.
Commercial aviation has experienced a nightmarish last six months with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 missing, flight MH17 being downed by a missile, and TransAsia Airlines crashing in bad weather over Taiwan. It’s rare to have one alarming incident aboard a plane, but two on the same flight is virtually unheard of.
[Photo Credit: NBC News]