Mid-air brawl between drunk Aussies diverts plane

JAKARTA • A rowdy brawl among a group of drunken Australians forced a plane to make an unscheduled landing in Indonesia, an official said.

Jetstar flight JQ27, which took off from Sydney, Australia, with 314 passengers and was heading to Phuket, Thailand, was forced to reroute to the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Wednesday evening after several passengers began fighting.

The pilot requested permission to land at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport and asked that extra security be present to assist in hauling the offenders off the flight.

"We removed six men from the flight, and they appeared to have been in a fight," the airport's authority chief Yusfandry Gona said yesterday.

Fellow passenger Romy Papas said in a post on Facebook that the fight erupted due to a seat dispute.

"Love it when a fight breaks out over your seat... Thank you Jetstar for handling the situation really well considering how bad they were," she wrote in her post.

Another passenger Leonie Bill also posted on Facebook on the fracas, describing how scared she was. "I have still not been to bed, I can't stop crying," she said in a later post.

The men involved admitted they were drinking aboard the flight before the fight, Mr Gona said.

They suffered bruises but incurred no serious injuries.

The plane continued its journey to Phuket the same evening, while the Australians were held by the authorities in Bali for questioning.

Airport general manager Trikora Harjo said the group would be flown back to Australia once investigations had concluded.

It was not the first time Australian tourists have stirred up trouble on flights over Indonesia.

In May, a drunk 25-year-old was held in custody after threatening to jump from a plane in mid-air on its way to Bali.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2016, with the headline 'Mid-air brawl between drunk Aussies diverts plane'. Print Edition | Subscribe