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Midair fight forces Swiss flight to China to double back

Published on Sep 3, 2012 7:11 PM
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A fleet of Swiss airline passenger jets are pictured at Zurich airport on July 12, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (AFP) - A violent fight between two passengers forced a plane carrying 200 people from Zurich to Beijing to turn back at the weekend after more than six hours in the air, the airline Swiss said on Monday.

"The two passengers were handed over to the police of the canton of Zurich after the Airbus A340 landed Sunday evening," Mehdi Guenin, spokesman for the airline, told AFP.

According to the online edition of Swiss-German daily Blick, the two passengers were Chinese citizens, aged 27 and 57. They were set to be interrogated by police on Monday. The plane was just east of Moscow when the pilot decided to turn it around, according to the spokesman, who said the pilot had opted to head back to Zurich instead of making an emergency landing in Moscow to avoid administrative difficulties. 

Swiss put up the plane's 200 passengers at a Zurich hotel, before placing them on Beijing flights with other companies, since its own flight to the Chinese capital on Monday was already fully booked.