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Airline’s 7-hour delay prompts charges

Six German airline passengers who said they were being held against their will on an aircraft stuck on the runway for hours during a snowstorm have filed "false imprisonment" charges, German police said Saturday.
/ Source: Reuters

Six German airline passengers who said they were being held against their will on an aircraft stuck on the runway for hours during a snowstorm have filed "false imprisonment" charges, German police said Saturday.

The passengers filed charges against the pilot of a British Airways flight from Berlin to London that sat on the runway for seven hours before it could take off, a federal police spokesman said.

Passengers boarded the plane at Berlin's Tegel airport at 7 a.m. on Thursday, but snow and ice delayed their takeoff.

At 11:30 a.m. a man named Ingo Q. called a police emergency hotline on his mobile phone and said he felt as if he was being "held hostage," the tabloid Bild reported on Saturday.

Police boarded the plane and Ingo Q. ran forward and screamed "I want to get out of here." But only three people who only had hand luggage were allowed to leave the plane.

Shortly after noon, Ingo Q. told police again that he wanted to leave the aircraft, still waiting on the snow-covered runway.

Ingo, his wife and another couple from Biesdorf near Berlin were allowed off the plane at 12:48 p.m., and it finally took off at 2:36 p.m., seven hours late, Bild said.

The Berlin police spokesman said it was an unusual incident.

"The plane stood there for a long time ... It's difficult to say whether the passengers are allowed off or not. It's something they have to work out with the captain."