Fort McMurray man charged with assaulting flight attendant, forcing flight back to Toronto

A Fort McMurray man is facing several charges after he forced a Delhi-bound Air Canada plane to turn around partway through the flight after allegedly assaulting a flight attendant.

Air Canada flight headed for New Delhi turned back to Pearson airport

Fort McMurray man arrested on Air Canada flight 0:33

A Fort McMurray man is facing several charges after allegedly assaulting a flight attendant — an incident that forced a Delhi-bound Air Canada plane to turn around partway through the flight.

Jaskaran Sidhu, 47, of Fort McMurray, Alta., has been charged with two counts of mischief, assault causing bodily harm and endangering safety of an aircraft.

Jaskaran Sidhu, right, and his lawyer, Sukhwant Baidwan, speak to the media outside a Brampton, Ont., courthouse on Wednesday evening. (CBC News)
Air Canada confirmed 232 people were aboard the Boeing 787 at the time of the incident, which allegedly took place about two-and-a-half hours into the flight. Passenger Manveer Kaur said the suspect bit a flight attendant's finger.

"A flight attendant sustained injuries requiring medical treatment," said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick.

Sidhu appeared in a Brampton, Ont., court on Wednesday, looking tired and wearing the same shirt as he was in the video of his arrest.

He deferred reporters' questions outside the courthouse to his lawyer, Sukhwant Baidwan.

"He's glad to be out, he's glad to be back with his family," Baidwan told reporters. "We all understand that he's presumed innocent until proven guilty." 

None of the allegations against Sidhu have been proven in court.

Peel Regional Police Sgt. Rob Lyall said Sidhu was taken into custody after the alleged incident, which occurred around 12:42 a.m. while the plane was over the Atlantic Ocean. He said Sidhu was belligerent at the time, but was arrested without incident when the plane landed.

That arrest was captured on video, which you can see above. 

Passengers on the flight have now departed Toronto for a second time, Fitzpatrick said.

Sidhu was released on several bail conditions. He is not allowed to return to Pearson airport or be near any Air Canada property, he cannot possess any weapons and he cannot consume alcohol.

Sidhu is set to return to court on Jan. 9.

With files from Canadian Press


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