Toronto: A WestJet flight from Toronto to Jamaica was forced to turn around on Monday after a passenger claimed he had coronavirus mid-flight. The airline said in a statement that 243 passengers aboard Flight 2702 were on their way to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay when the flight was disrupted by an “unruly guest.”
As per reports, during the flight, a man stood up, told passengers he was recently in China and declared he had contracted the coronavirus while taking selfies. Flight attendants initially gave him a mask and gloves and ordered him to the back of the plane.
Meanwhile, following protocol, the pilot had no choice but to take the precaution of turning the aircraft around and heading back to Toronto. Upon landing, a medical team checked the man and determined he did not have the virus following which he was arrested by the police.
When interrogation, the 28-year-old man who was identified as James Potok, said his actions inside the plane were intended to be a prank and he hoped that the video of it would go viral on social media.
Potok was later charged with mischief and breach of recognizance and will be produced in court on March 9.
“Very, very sorry for my ignorance and not understanding that its an epidemic,” Potok told City News.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak has crossed 490 in China.