Drunk Passenger Onboard MH179 Triggers Aviation Anxiety On Twitter

A rough timeline of what happened to #MH179, theTwitter trend that caused Malaysians unnecessary panic on the Internet.

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Passenger's Violent Outbreak Over Whisky Caused MH179 To Turn Around

"A blood and urine test was conducted and we can confirm he was not intoxicated,” Sepang acting chief Supt Abdul OCPD Aziz Ali was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.

He said the 54-year-old was being remanded at the Sepang police headquarters and forwarded papers for the man be investigated and charged to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP).

"He (the passenger) was seated in the first class and asked for the stewardess to serve him whiskey after the flight had taken off. However, because the ‘fasten seatbelt sign’ was still turned on, his request was rejected. That was when he got mad and got into a scuffle with one of the stewardesses," said Supt Abdul Aziz. He added the businessman was travelling alone and he lives in Bali with his wife.

Selangor deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said police were investigating the man under Section 70(1) of the Malaysia Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 for "imperilling the safety of an aircraft or any person on board".

German businessman Dietmar Ross, 54, has been slapped with a one month jail sentence for endangering a MAS flight crew member by swearing and raising his voice. During the scuffle, he also kicked several crew members, with one suffering bruises.

German businessman Dietmar Ross, 54, was sentenced to one's month jail for causing danger to a Malaysia Airlines cabin crew member on a Sri Lanka-bound flight.

Image via Mohd Fadli Hamzah/NST

German businessman Dietmar Ross, 54, was sentenced to one's month jail for causing danger to a Malaysia Airlines cabin crew member on a Sri Lanka-bound flight. He pleaded guilty at a Sepang Sessions Court here on 13 May to the charge of endangering a cabin crew member.

According to police investigations, Ross had pressed the buzzer several times to notify the airline crew for drinks as he was thirsty. After about 30 minutes, the German national decided to go and get the drink himself and was told to sit down by a crew member. A scuffle ensued following an argument, leading several crew members of the airline to be kicked, with one suffering bruises. The scuffle led Ross to threaten the crew leading the airliner to return back to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The German national is said to have endangered MAS flight crew member, Phuah Soh Kin, 48, by raising his voice and using foul language. He was charged under ‎Regulation 70 (1) Civil Aviation Rules 1969, which is punishable under Regulation 188 (7) of the same regulation.

Under the regulation, a person can face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a maximum two years jail. Deputy public prosecutor Uma Devi Balasubramaniam prosecuted while Ross was represented by counsel Zaflee Pakwanteh.

On 11 May: At 1.13am on 10 May, a report by sent Twitter users into a flurry when it was reported that MH179 was circling the ocean west of Pulau Ketam for two hours after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Flight MH179 took off from KLIA at 11.27 p.m. and was supposed to arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka at 12.18 a.m. Sri Lankan time. However, it caused netizens to worry after flight trackers showed Flight MH179 flying in circles over the ocean west of Pulau Ketam since about 11.30 p.m.

Many panicking Malaysians took to Twitter to express their prayers for the flight causing #MH179 to trend, although the cause of it was unknown at that time

In truth, flight MH179 made a turn back and safely landed in KLIA following a commotion aboard the flight. The plane was flying in circles - known in aviation as a holding pattern - in order to burn fuel until it was light enough to make a safe landing.

Flight tracker website 'Flightradar24' in its Twitter at 1.30 this morning said the aircraft made a turnback after dumping fuel for two hours in the Melaka Strait to reduce the weight of the plane, before landing.

It is typically used by aircraft to maintain its location while waiting for permission to land at a congested airport. It is also used by some aircraft to burn fuel until it is light enough to make a safe landing if its journey is cut short, including Boeing 737-800s such as the one used to fly the MH179 route.

MAS said that the pilot had to turn the flight around to make an early landing for the safety of passengers after a drunk passenger started harassing the crew soon after take-off. He was such a 'huge' disruption that passengers had to help the crew in restraining him.

On the night of 10 May, an intoxicated passenger forced Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) flight MH179 to turn around, the national airline revealed.

MAS said in a statement that the drunk passenger started harassing the crew members soon after flight MH179 had taken off from KLIA at 11.27pm.

“Due to his big body size, the other passengers had to assist the crew in restraining the passenger. To ensure safety and comfort of those on-board, the commander of the flight made a decision to turn back,” said the statement.

Upon landing in KLIA, the drunk man was handed over to the authorities. The flight was rescheduled to 10.06 am on the same day.

According to the statement, the disruptive passenger was handed over to the authorities upon arrival at the KLIA. MH179 then departed for Colombo at 10.06am on the same day.

Pic for illustration purposes.

Image via Afif Abd Halim/The Malaysian Insider

Following that, some took to Twitter to pour out their disappointment at themselves and others for assuming the worst when #MH179 began trending

Recently a video of an employee's reaction to a customer went viral, though MAS was quick to explain their side of the story:

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