Doc Called Terrorist And Taken Off Flight Over Mosquitoes

CENPublished: April 10, 2018
Published: April 10, 2018

A doctor thrown off a flight after complaining about mosquitoes has angrily accused Indian airline officials of branding him a terrorist.

Medic Dr Saurabh Rai had just boarded the IndiGo plane flight from Lucknow, northern India, to Bengaluru when he challenged flight staff over the insects in a cabin.

But as the row escalated, Dr Rai was ordered off the plane and made to walk back from the tarmac to the departure lounge at Lucknow airport, according to reports.

In an angry selfie video filmed in the packed airport Dr Rai claimed he had been "manhandled" by the crew.

He said: "The staff termed me as a terrorist. They threatened me with dire consequences and pressurised me to write an apology letter, which I refused as I had done no wrong."

Dr Rai went on: "They mistreated me. I had to arrange my next ticket for Bengaluru after a lot of hardship."

But IndiGo - India’s biggest airline - denied the claims saying Dr Rai had been ejected because of his "unruly behaviour."

After angrily challenging cabin crew over mosquitoes, they claim, he started making threats before they could do anything.

They even accused him of trying to enlist other passengers in the row and of using the word "hijack."

An airline spokesman said: "Such actions are absolutely unacceptable, and there is zero tolerance for such threatening language on board an aircraft."

They added: "Hence, keeping in mind applicable safety protocols, the crew apprised the pilot-in-command, who decided to offload Rai from the flight.

"Customer satisfaction is core to our business. However, the safety and security of our passengers as well as colleagues are of primary concern.

"Therefore, any untoward conduct of this nature is of serious concern to us, and as responsible corporate citizens we will take all necessary action to address this violation.

"Further, we would like to mention here that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited disinfectant fumigation in aircraft while passengers are on board.

"This order is currently being challenged by IndiGo before the NGT and the same is pending for adjudication."

A similar row emerged on another airline - Jet Airways - when passengers on a plane at Lucknow airport were filmed swatting mosquitoes.

And just months ago IndiGo had to apologise to a passenger who had been hauled off a plane by staff at New Delhi airport in the Indian capital.

Mosquitoes carry the deadly malaria parasite which some experts believe kills 24,000 people a year across India.

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