Fighter Jets Escort Plane Back To Toronto After Drunken Passengers’ Threat

A pair of Canadian fighter jets escorted a Cuba-bound commercial flight back to Toronto after disruptive behavior by two female passengers Wednesday night, according to police. Peel Regional Police said Sunwing Airlines Flight 656 was forced to return to Toronto Pearson International Airport, where the unidentified passengers where arrested around 8:30 p.m.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command said it diverted two CF-18 fighter jets based out of Bagotville, Quebec, late Wednesday as a "precautionary measure." It said the fighter jets returned to their home base after the aircraft was safely on the ground.

In a statement, Sunwing said it was "reported that the passengers consumed a significant quantity of their duty free alcohol purchase in the lavatory and lit a cigarette, triggering the smoke detector alarm." The airline said the passengers "proceeded to get into a physical altercation with each other and made a threat against the aircraft, which was considered non-credible given their condition."

Sunwing said the flight will be taking off again from Toronto en route to Varadero via Manzanillo, Cuba, Wednesday night with a new flight crew.


— Daniel Arkin