A 47-year-old Punjab-origin Canadian man, who allegedly assaulted an Air Canada woman flight attendant while the Delhi-bound plane was over the Atlantic Ocean, has been charged on two counts, including endangering safety of an aircraft.
Jaskaran Sidhu faces two counts of mischief, assault causing bodily harm and endangering safety of an aircraft after exhibiting “assaultive and belligerent” behaviour towards the flight attendant, the Canadian police said.
Sidhu was released on 20,000-dollar (about Rs 9.5 lakh) bail on Wednesday, including conditions that he stay away from Pearson International Airport, cannot board any Air Canada flight, have no contact with the flight attendant or consume alcohol.
Sidhu is due back in court on January 25, Global News reported.
A family member at Sidhu’s Alberta home would only say she was shocked about the incident, The Star newspaper reported.
Greater Toronto Airport Authority spokesperson Siobahn Desroches said Air Canada flight AC070 left Pearson at 8:57pm (local time), and the incident occurred about three hours into the flight, when it was over the Atlantic Ocean.
The direct flight between Toronto and Delhi, using a Boeing 787 aircraft, was diverted back to Toronto and landed at 2:20am (local time), when police took Sidhu into custody.
A passenger told Global News that Sidhu bit the flight attendant’s finger after the airline employee pointed at him aggressively.
“The crew member just pointed the finger, ‘don’t touch, don’t touch.’ Eventually he just cut the finger... by mistake, I think,” said Pavitar Khakh, who was sitting behind the accused on the flight.
Police said the flight attendant was injured and treated at the scene.
“I saw the staff member’s bleeding finger,” passenger Manveer Kaur said. “They took a U-turn and we came back here,” she added.
The flight was initially scheduled to take off earlier on Tuesday but poor winter weather forced Air Canada to postpone the flight shortly after the plane made it to the runway.
A new India-bound flight left Toronto just after noon.