A disturbance on a plane Wednesday morning in Saskatoon involved members of a northern community's firefighting force who were travelling to a national competition, CBC News has learned.
Police reported Wednesday that four men were removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight prior to takeoff because they were drunk and two of them were fighting.
According to Billy Robillard, fire chief for the northern Saskatchewan village of Black Lake, the men were on their way to Quebec — via Saskatoon and Ottawa — to participate in the 2009 National Aboriginal Firefighters competition. They were supposed to represent Black Lake.
The three-day skills event takes place in Listugui, Que., and wraps up on Saturday.
A team from Black Lake has won three national championships in the past 10 years.
'He just jumped on me.' —Gary Robillard, one of four men removed from a plane for allegedly causing a disturbance
This year’s team trip was interrupted when police were called to the airport in Saskatoon to deal with a complaint from Air Canada about a group of unruly passengers.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, CBC News spoke to a couple of the men as they left provincial court in Saskatoon.
"My buddy there, he started to fight me on the plane," Gary Robillard told CBC. "He told me to shut up. I'll beat you up. I said, 'Do it'. And he just jumped on me."
3 face charges
Robillard and Alvin Robillard were charged with causing a disturbance. Police said the men are in their early 20s and come from the Black Lake area.
A third man who was with them, Victor Beavereye, was charged with breaching the conditions of an undertaking.
The fourth person in the group was not charged.
The fire chief said Black Lake was planning to send a replacement team to the firefighters' competition. However, their arrival in Quebec was not expected until Friday, midway through the event.