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Man arrested for claiming to have coronavirus on plane departing Toronto

Last Updated Feb 4, 2020 at 7:41 am PDT

FILE - A pilot taxis a Westjet Boeing 737-700 plane to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

The flight was about halfway to Jamaica when the man stood up and told crew and passengers he had the virus

The planned turned back and landed at the Toronto airport where the man was arrested

TORONTO (680 NEWS) — Police have arrested a man for mischief after he reportedly told a plane full of people bound for Jamaica that he had coronavirus, forcing it to return to Toronto.

The WestJet flight, headed to Montego Bay, departed around 10 a.m. and was about halfway there when the man stood up and told crew and passengers he had the virus.

The pilot radioed back and returned the flight to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The plane landed at around 2:10 p.m. where the suspect was arrested.

The 29-year-old Ontario man has since been charged with mischief. He will appear in court on March 9 in Brampton.

WestJet apologized to the 243 passengers affected by “this unfortunate situation.” They added the plane crew followed all protocols for infectious disease on board, including sequestering the man.

Police say they believe the incident was a prank and WestJet said the claim the man has coronavirus was “unfounded.”

Two flights were cancelled due to the incident on Monday and WestJet said they would be adding an extra flight on Tuesday, both to and from Montego Bay, for those affected.