Friday, December 30, 2005

I support marooning

I saw this article up on drudgereport about a pilot who marooned an unruly passenger on a small island:

A drunken holidaymaker has been dumped on a desert island after launching a foul-mouthed tirade at the crew of a passenger jet.

The unwilling Robinson Crusoe will only be able to leave Porto Santo, a tiny patch of land off the North African coast, if he books a two-and-a-half hour ferry trip to Madeira. He will then have to book a flight to his intended destination, Tenerife, or return to Britain.

Monarch Airlines has yet to decide whether to sue him for the cost of the unscheduled diversion, estimated at "many thousands of pounds".

The unnamed passenger's difficulties began on Tuesday evening at 35,000 ft when he began abusing the cabin crew of flight ZB558 from Manchester. He refused to calm down and then turned his attention to the other 210 passengers.

Eventually the pilot decided that he posed a risk to safety and had to be removed.

Rather than continue for a further 45 minutes to Tenerife he diverted his Airbus A321 to Porto Santo. Within moments of the plane touching down the passenger was escorted to the terminal. Last night he remained a castaway on the Portuguese-controlled island. His New Year home is a mere 10 miles long by three miles wide with a population of 4,000. There is little entertainment apart from walking on the sand dunes.

Porto Santo's only cultural claim to fame is to have been the place where Christopher Columbus met his wife, the then governor's daughter.

Jo Robertson, of Monarch, refused to name the drunken passenger. She said that he was asked to sign a form admitting his disruptive behaviour, but had refused.

Despite enduring a four-hour delay, other passengers were "fully supportive" of the decision to dump the man.

Last night it was unclear either how or when he would return to Britain.

"He certainly won't be flying back with us," said Miss Robertson.

One thing I hope will always remain with the pilots (specifically, the captain) is the near free-reign. Through the years, captains (both maritime and aviation) have had the power to dump off those not willing to cooperate. Though some may have abused this privilage (Alexander Selkirk was marooned after arguing with the captain that the plane was not safe), I see this power as a necessity. The responsibility of the captain is his passengers and crew, to that end, if someone poses what he feels is a safety threat, the captain needs the power to eject said person. In the current push for political correctness and in the light of new threats, I pray the traditional power of captains remain untouched.


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