British Columbia

Unruly smoker forces Vancouver-bound Lufthansa flight to divert to Hamburg

A Vancouver-bound Lufthansa flight was forced to divert from Munich to Hamburg after a passenger's erratic behaviour threatened safety, according to a fellow passenger.

'He tried to light up a smoke ... he apparently tried to open the back door at 38,000 feet'

This man was removed from a Lufthansa flight bound for Vancouver after passengers say he tried to force open a door. (Dan Iosh)

A Vancouver-bound Lufthansa flight was forced to divert from Munich to Hamburg after a passenger's erratic behavior threatened safety, according to a fellow passenger.

Lufthansa officials confirmed that flight LH476 was diverted to Hamburg where the passenger was removed.

Hamburg police confirmed that a rescue crew, including a doctor, met the man and diagnosed him with a mental disorder. He was taken to a local psychiatric facility. There is no active police investigation into the incident.

 'Once we got in the air he got more and more agitated and he tried to light up a cigarette'- Dan Iosh, fellow passenger

"It was reported that there was a man in the back of the plane screaming and yelling and apparently tried to open the back door of the aircraft at 38,000 feet," said passenger Dan Iosch of Vancouver, who at the time was seated in first class.

"Apparently at the beginning of the flight he was being a little difficult, but they decided to take off, " said Iosch, who said he listened to the drama unfold over the in-flight announcements.

"I guess once we got in the air he got more and more agitated and he tried to light up a cigarette. He was yelling and screaming," said Iosch, who watched as the man was forcefully escorted from the Airbus A340-600 by paramedics and other officials.

The flight's arrival in Vancouver was delayed by three hours. 

Calm captain

Despite the delayed trip, Iosch praised the captain.

"The captain was amazing. He had everything in hand and he was calm, but he redirected the plane to Hamburg immediately and we were cleared in straight away," he said.

Iosch said he was returning from Switzerland where his friends won third place at the Volleyball World Championship, and didn't expect so much excitement on the way home.

Fellow passenger Dan Iosch told CBC he watched as the unruly flier was forcefully escorted from the Airbus A340-600 by paramedics and other officials. (Dan Iosch/Twitter)

With files from Canadian Press