By Editor-July 7th, 2023.
Passengers who were on a British Airways flight from London, Gatwick to St. Lucia and who witnessed a man–who has still not been identified by authorities–break a glass wine bottle and stab a fellow passenger have criticized the airline for plying him with apparently ‘unlimited’ alcohol and failing to intervene when he ‘harassed women’ onboard, reports Britain’s Daily Mail.
Shaken onlookers claimed a large group of men spent hours ‘loudly partying with an endless supply of alcohol’ provided by BA staff, as well as approaching multiple female passengers, whom they harassed or ‘grabbed’, before the incident.
Shocking footage shows the moment flight BA2159 from Gatwick to St Lucia descended into chaos as a brawl broke out between several passengers around an hour and 20 minutes from touchdown while flying over the Atlantic Ocean.
It is not clear whether the British Airways pilot attempted to land at the nearest airfield, which could have been Bermuda.
Those onboard have told MailOnline BA staff ‘did not intervene’ and ‘poured fuel on the fire’ by ‘ignoring’ rowdy behaviour in the run up to the assault, and claimed people on the plane were unable to use the bathroom for several hours due to harassment by the group of inebriated men.
As a row escalated into a physical altercation, two passengers are said to have suffered injuries from the broken glass, but the pilots had “no option” but to continue on to the island’s Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort.
It is not clear whether the British Airways pilot attempted to land at the nearest airfield, which could have been Bermuda or somewhere on the east coast of the US.
According to the St Lucia Times, the brawl kicked off when one passenger, who had been arguing back and forth with another man on the flight, snapped and stormed to the kitchen area of the Boeing 777 jet.
The aggressor, a man from St Lucia wearing a bucket hat and spectacles, is said to have smashed a bottle in the galley, spraying shards of glass throughout the food preparation area, before beelining back up the gangway and plunging the jagged edges of the bottle into his foe.
But passengers told MailOnline how he was one of a group of men who blockaded access to the bathroom and ‘partied’ for hours.
One woman said: ‘The main aggressor was behaving terribly in the lead up to the incident, the BA staff were perhaps too intimidated to regain control but the atmosphere was clearly leading to some kind of incident.
‘A handful of men were lingering at the back of plane for hours, loudly partying with an endless supply of alcohol provided by the BA staff.
‘They approached numerous women on the flight, myself and a fellow passenger were grabbed by the arm when we passed by and pulled back as they tried to engage us.
‘Staff saw this and did not intervene, contributing to the escalating atmosphere. Hours passed with women unable to access the loos.’
A second woman, who was sat in the same cabin where the attack unfolded, claimed BA staff ‘ignored’ the group as they were ‘harassing female passengers’, leaving them in tears.
She said: ‘The man who perpetrated the assaults was approaching lone women on the flight trying to chat them up, he told me both his parents had just died so he’s got a house now on St Lucia and was offering to be the tour guide.
‘[He was] touching my arm and generally making me feel very uncomfortable.
At time of writing local news media in St. Lucia appear to have been unable to identify the man concerned and it is not known if he is gaoled or on bail, and when he is expected to appear in court.
Sources: Daily Mail, St. Lucia Times.