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‘Lots of wine’: Man describes experience on plane diverted to Winnipeg for ‘unruly’ passenger’

A passenger is escorted off Flight BY32 in Winnipeg. Jeremy Morgan/Submitted

A man who was on a flight from London, England forced to land in Winnipeg Thursday over the “unruly behaviour” of a passenger says the man now facing charges had to be restrained in his seat after getting drunk and making threats against his fellow passengers.

John Webb was on the flight from London, U.K. to Los Cabos, Mexico, when the plane had to be diverted to Winnipeg around noon.

Webb said the trouble started a couple of hours into the 12-and-a-half-hour-long flight.

“By that point he’d already made his way through probably six, seven, eight glasses of wine and he was starting to be a bit of a disturbance to some of the passengers,” said Webb of the man who would later be charged in the incident.

“Lots of wine got this young man quite drunk and that’s when the nuisance started.”

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READ MORE: Plane from London, U.K. diverted to Winnipeg due to ‘unruly passenger’, 2 arrested

Webb said the man, who was seated near him at the back of the plane,  was soon “stumbling in the aisle” and yelling and swearing at his fellow passengers.

And then it got even worse.

“Lots of dropping food and throwing things and shouting and swearing and then the aggression came a little bit later and that’s when they broke out the restraint kit to keep him subdued,” he said, adding the man threatened him after he asked him to keep it down.

“It didn’t take long … before we were starting to get into the serious zone where he was making threats and being quite abusive.”

Webb said shortly after airline staff restrained the man in his seat, passengers were told the flight would be making an unplanned stop in Winnipeg.

That’s where RCMP officers boarded the plane and arrested the man.

Another ‘unruly’ passenger arrested

But before the plane could take off again, Mounties were called back to respond to reports of another passenger, this time a woman, who was, again, being unruly.

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The two passengers, who are both from the United Kingdom but not related to each other, were each first charged with causing a disturbance.

The man faced additional charges of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, police said Thursday.

But on Friday, police announced further charges had been laid against both passengers.

Ben James Iontton, 25, is further charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft, uttering threats, disturbing the peace, and mischief over $5,000.

Natalie Louise Walker, 34, is further charged with disturbing the peace and mischief over $5,000.

READ MORE: Despite hurdles, Winnipeg airport maintains strong traffic numbers

Both remain in custody in Winnipeg.

Police tell Global News the charges of mischief over $5,000 are related to the cost of diverting the plane to Winnipeg.

Webb said the woman had been seated near the front of the plane so he wasn’t able to see what had happened in that case.

After all the delays, the flight was grounded for the day, and Webb and the rest of the passengers were put up in hotels in Winnipeg for the night.

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“I had said a couple days before that I had really wanted to visit Canada, so great timing for me,” laughed Webb of his unexpected stay in Winnipeg.

“It was a very strange flight, and not the one that I think any of us expected.”

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