Drunk WestJet passenger who caused plane to reroute ordered to pay $21,000 for the fuel


The U.K. man whose « absolutely disgusting » drunken behaviour caused a WestJet flight to turn around and land back in Calgary must pay the airline $21,260.68 — the cost of the wasted fuel. 

David Stephen Young, 44, pleaded guilty last week to charges under the Aeronautics Act and Criminal Code of failing to comply with safety instructions and resisting arrest.

« One has to feel some sympathy for the accused but as in all criminal legislation, it is trite to say that the voice of the victim must also be heard, » said provincial court Judge Brian Stevenson in delivering his sentencing decision.

The victims, Stevenson noted, include the flight crew, passengers, WestJet and its shareholders as well as the police and CBSA officers, who were also at the receiving end of Young’s tirade.

Young is an alcoholic but had been sober for 18 months until Jan. 4, when he consumed about six drinks while waiting to board his flight. The U.K. resident had been visiting his mother in B.C. over the holidays and was depressed because of a death in the family and a failed marriage, according to the facts of the case presented in court last week.

Once Young boarded a flight in Calgary bound for London, he became belligerent with flight crew and a fellow passenger, and repeatedly tried to get up during take-off to use the washroom.

About an hour into Young’s abusive behaviour, the decision was made to turn the plane around.

The pilot had to burn off and then dump 20,000 pounds of fuel in order to land safely, according to the facts of the case, read aloud in court last week by prosecutor Lori Ibrus.

Ibrus had requested a $65,000 restitution order but Stevenson said he didn’t want the court-ordered payment to bankrupt Young.

WestJet’s total losses — which include the cost of the fuel and compensation for its passengers — could be more than $200,000.

Week behind bars

In a written statement read by his lawyer last week, Young apologized for his behaviour and for the « damage and inconvenience » he caused to his fellow travellers. 

Defence lawyer Michelle Parhar had sought a $5,000 to $8,000 restitution order for her client.

Young also spent one week at the Calgary Remand Centre before he was released on bail.

It will be very difficult for Young to ever enter Canada again, said Parhar.

Once Young returns to the U.K., « he’s essentially barred from entering Canada, barred from seeing his mother in B.C., » said Parhar.

Stevenson noted WestJet could make a civil claim against Young if it wanted to try to recover more of its losses.


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For weeks, Kingston residents watched a ‘mystery plane’ flying at night. It was RCMP, sources say


For weeks, Kingston residents noticed a “mystery plane” flying around over their homes — but no one could quite figure out what it was up to.

There had been hundreds of plane sightings since Jan. 4, and there were a few guesses as to what it could be.

The plane was flying around at night; one aviation enthusiast in the city heard a buzz over his home that lasted for about a week.

WATCH: Jan. 23 — Kingston mystery plane solved?

Royal Military College Prof. Christian Leuprecht surmised that the plane belonged to a “government entity.” Plane tracker Neil Aird suggested it was an RCMP plane, based on a flight path.

The RCMP at the time only offered a statement saying its “primary concern is the safety and security of Canadians. We have multiple aircraft that support our mandate in Ontario and elsewhere in the country. To maintain the integrity of our investigations and operations, the location of our aircraft is not disclosed.”

On Thursday, Kingstonians received some clarity as to the plane’s origin. It was related to two raids executed in the city that resulted in the arrests of two people linked to a national security investigation, sources told Global News.

READ MORE: Kingston’s mystery plane likely belongs to ‘government entity,’ say local experts

The raids happened at two homes: one on Kingsdale Avenue, the other at 430 MacDonnell Street.

One of the two people arrested was a minor, sources said.

Speaking to Global News Radio’s Charles Adler on Thursday, Leuprecht, an expert in defence and security, said he was not sure this operation was “run in an optimal fashion for a national security investigation.”

“When the RCMP is flying a plane here on a regular basis at night, it’s a good tip that something may be up,” he said.

READ MORE: 2 arrested in Kingston raids related to major national security probe

The plane, Leuprecht said, had been “raising eyebrows” within Kingston for weeks “because it seems to show up in the middle of the night, usually after midnight, then it circles for several hours on end, so it didn’t seem to be moving particularly far.

“And if you’re familiar with the ways plane traffic works, there was concern this could pose a security issue.”

Leuprecht was also puzzled as to why they used this particular plane “if two high-altitude planes they could have used, that do not make the amount of noise that this particular plane does.”

This particular plane was brought in from Montreal “for this particular purpose,” he said.

Flight plan

Since 9/11, Leuprecht said, there isn’t much that happens in the sky that authorities aren’t aware of.

Any plane flying at this one’s height — estimated at 6,000 feet — would have had to file a flight plan with Transport Canada, he said.

“Nobody just flying a private plane would be able to get permission from Transport Canada to fly their plane with no lights on in the middle of the night, in relatively close proximity to our own little airport here, if this wasn’t a government priority,” Leuprecht said.

“I think people had already drawn the inference that there was government, and likely law enforcement, involvement and investigation under way.”

In a statement on Thursday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale didn’t provide further details on the investigation.

“The Government of Canada has no greater responsibility than to keep its citizens safe,” he said.

“Earlier today, the RCMP and other police partners took action in Kingston, Ont., based on credible information, to ensure public safety. Any comments on operational details will be made at the appropriate time by the RCMP.”

  • With files from Mercedes Stephenson, Alexandra Mazur and Jessica Vomiero

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay leaves passengers stuck on board for 16 hours


Passengers travelling from Newark, N.J. to Hong Kong weren’t expecting to stop off in Goose Bay, N.L. for 16 hours this weekend. (@sonjaydutterson/Twitter)

A United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay Airport in Labrador Saturday night resulted in a lengthy stay on the tarmac, according to passengers who were stranded on the aircraft.

After a wait of about 16 hours, a rescue plane touched down around noon local time, and travellers reported they were transported to the alternate plane by bus after 2 p.m. AT. 

The plane took off for Newark Liberty International Airport shortly before 4 p.m.

In a statement to CBC News, the airline says United Flight 179 travelling from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was originally diverted to Goose Bay, N.L., due to medical emergency, where medical personnel met the plane and brought the passenger to hospital.

However, a mechanical issue prevented the plane from taking off again. Passengers were not able to leave the aircraft because customs officers were not available overnight, United said.

The airline told CBC News 250 passengers were on board.

Paramedics responded to a medical emergency on the plane that required crew to make an unplanned landing at the Goose Bay airport. (Submitted by Sonjay Dutt)

The airline believes cold weather caused a door on the plane to malfunction, preventing takeoff. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is currently grappling with an extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada, with temperatures dipping below -30 C.

Communication poor, passenger says

Temperatures on the plane quickly plummeted to « uncomfortable » levels, said passenger Sonjay Dutt, a professional wrestler en route to Hong Kong for a show.

Crew handed out blankets, but according to Dutt, they were able to offer little else to assuage mounting anger from passengers.

« Communication could be better, » Dutt said in a phone call from the plane. Passengers were told at the start of the delay that a rescue flight had already departed to return them to Newark. An update wasn’t announced until about five hours later, he said.

They were also told the airport didn’t have the customs capacity to handle hundreds of passengers, Dutt added.

Dutt also said food and water was running low until about 10 hours into the delay, when officials delivered Tim Hortons to hungry travellers.

Most appreciated the gesture, Dutt said, but reaction to the offering was muted.

« I think people are so fed up, and so at their wits’ end, that even the sight of food didn’t get everyone up and cheering. »

Other passengers on board tweeted out complaints to United, wondering why they had been told a replacement plane was in the air and were not informed of further delays. Dutt said a pilot told passengers to email United’s CEO with complaints about communication practices.

A Twitter account sprang up Sunday morning poking fun at the situation.

In its statement Sunday morning, United said an alternative aircraft had been sent to Goose Bay to fly passengers back to Newark if mechanics are unable to fix the malfunctioning door.

Passengers reported that rescue plane touched down around noon and they waited another two hours to be transported to the alternate plane by bus.

The airline said it had food delivered to the plane and the second aircraft would provide more meals for passengers.

United said it apologizes to its customers and and would do everything possible to assist them during the delay.


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Fishing licence saves the day for woman blocked from boarding WestJet plane


Debrah Theissen’s fish tale is more accurately a fish licence tale — an absurd story of a missed flight, random rules, a marriage certificate, and, yes, a brand new fishing licence bought in desperation by a Kelowna woman who has no intention of going fishing. Ever.

It all started with the job action at Canada Post.

Theissen’s new driver’s licence was stuck in the mail which was a problem because she was booked to go visit her 82-year-old mother in Winnipeg over Christmas.

The fishing licence WestJet helped Debrah Theissen secure so she could get on a plane to Winnipeg to see her elderly mother. (submitted by Debrah Theissen)

Without that driver’s licence, she had didn’t have the valid photo ID required to board her flight.

When she phoned WestJet, she says, it told her no problem, she could use two pieces of government-issued non-photo ID instead. 

So, she dug up her marriage licence. Along with her temporary driver’s licence, Theissen assumed she was good to go.

She wasn’t.

WestJet, as it turns out, doesn’t accept marriage licences, something Theissen found out the hard way when she tried to check in for her flight.

Fishing licence good, marriage licence bad

Surprsingly, she says she was told by the agent the airline would accept a valid fishing licence.

A second surprise followed. Theissen was told she could get said fishing licence right in the Kelowna airport.

A helpful WestJet supervisor escorted her to the commissionaires office.

There, Theissen was set up on a computer where she filled out the online fishing licence application, paid $36 and immediately printed her brand new B.C. 2018-2019 Non-tidal Angling Licence.

Fishing licences can be obtained at the Kelowna Aiport with the help of WestJet and the airport commissionaires, according to Theissen. (Google Street View)

Unfortunately, in the minutes it took to secure the critical document, boarding for her flight was halted and Theissen was forced to reschedule.

One day later, fishing licence in hand, she sailed through security without a snag.

‘It’s maddening!’

One month later, the weirdness of it all still doesn’t sit right. 

« It’s maddening, » said Theissen. « I could have plugged in any information for the fishing licence … there’s no verification. To me, that marriage licence is a lot more of an official document than a silly little fishing licence. »

Her husband is equally incredulous.

« She couldn’t get on the plane with her temporary driver’s licence, but she could get on the plane with a fishing licence that has no photo and that she had just applied for … that we just typed on the computer and printed, » said Gary Theissen. 

In an email, WestJet said: « In our effort to assist this traveller, the guest was advised of additional ID options that met the Transport Canada’s requirements, » although fishing licence does not appear on the Public Safety Canada website the airline references, nor does it appear on the WestJet website.

Although the ordeal meant missing a day of vacation, a special Christmas gift captures the humour of the situation.

« A family member gave me a fishing lure, » she said. « I thought that was hilarious. »


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Sun-bound travellers grounded after Westjet plane ‘makes contact’ with vehicle at YVR


Passengers looking forward to some fun in the sun were delayed for hours after a Westjet plane bound for Palm Springs reversed into a catering truck on the tarmac at YVR Thursday morning.

« During pushback from its gate, WestJet flight 1722 from Vancouver to Palm Springs made contact with a catering vehicle, » said a statement from Morgan Bell, a Westjet media representative.

Passengers take to social media

Passenger @SunshineSucks took to Twitter, complaining about the flight being cancelled because the pilot drove ‘into a truck on the tarmac. »

Westjet responded to the tweet saying the aircraft was under the control of its contracted ground crew at the time of the incident.

Passengers and crew returned to the gate and were offloaded, while arrangements were being made to secure another plane.

Earlier in the day @mattgolfLAB tweeted he was looking forward to some quality family time and warmth, but an hour later tweeted « Who backs a plane into something at an airport? »

Westjet says pilot error wasn’t an issue, because a pushback crew and tug were deployed to move the plane in reverse.

« We sincerely apologize for the delay and any inconvenience this may have caused our guests and are working to get them on their way as soon as possible, » said the statement.

Plane taken out of service

A spokesperson for YVR said the plane has been taken out of service.

The flight departed at 1:05 pm PT, over three-and-a-half hours after its scheduled time.


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Delta plane preparing for Saskatoon flight slides off taxiway, no injuries


A Delta airlines plane slid off a taxiway while preparing for takeoff at Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport this morning.

The plane was travelling to Minneapolis and had 74 passengers aboard. No one was injured.

Freezing rain has created slippery conditions at the Saskatoon airport. Travel was not recommended on many Saskatoon highways at the time.

« We are in a normal operating scenario for the pavement surfaces here, » said airport authority CEO Stephen Maybury. « That said, it’s rapidly changing icing conditions and windy out there, particularly towards the shoulder and the outside of the runway surface. »

The airport authority said it would review the incident.

As of 10:30 a.m. CST, passengers were still in a secure area. It wasn’t clear when a new flight would be available.


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Cargo plane goes off runway at Halifax airport, 5 sent to hospital


The airfield at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport has been closed until further notice after a cargo plane went off the runway during landing early Wednesday morning.

The five crew members on the Boeing 747-400 SkyLease cargo aircraft, which was arriving from Chicago, IL, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The plane remains on the airfield and damage to the wings is visible by daylight.

A statement from the airport says the incident happened at Runway 32 during the plane’s scheduled landing. The airport activated its emergency plan, while RCMP, Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Fire and EHS also responded.

“The airfield has been closed temporarily. There will be no flight arrivals and departures until further notice,” the statement reads.

Passengers are asked to check with their airlines on the status of their flights before heading out to the airport.

The Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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1 dead after mid-air small plane collision near Kanata


One person is dead after a mid-air​ collision involving two small aircraft in Carp, Ont., Sunday morning.

Police said one of the planes crashed near McGee Side Road. The second plane, carrying two people, was redirected to the Ottawa International Airport, where it landed safely. 

The occupant of the aircraft that crashed died at the scene due to critical injuries, paramedics said. Those on board the second aircraft were not injured. 

The pilot of the second plane, a twin-engine 11-seat Piper Cheyenne, reported to air traffic control that the first aircraft hit the bottom of his plane and affected his right landing gear.

The incident happened around 10:00 a.m.

Police close off William Mooney Road And McGee Side Road in Carp, Ont., after a plane crash involving two aircraft. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Police close off road 

Police closed off a section of McGee Side Road between the westbound off ramp of Highway 417 and William Mooney Road. Police are asking commuters to avoid the area. 

Ottawa paramedics and police are at the scene. Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive soon.

Carp is approximately 30 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa.


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Plane crashes into field after mid-air collision in Ottawa’s west end


Two aircraft collided in mid-air in Ottawa‘s west end on Sunday morning, with one of them crashing into a nearby field, Ottawa police said.

Police said one of the aircraft crashed into a field near McGee Side Road just east of the 417. The other aircraft was redirected to Ottawa International Airport and safely landed there.

READ MORE: Pilot seriously injured after small plane crashes in Ottawa’s west end

Paramedics are on the scene, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

No details about injuries were immediately available.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Air Canada flight damaged by passing plane just after it landed at New York airport – National


Airport officials in New York say an Air Canada flight that had just landed at the city’s LaGuardia Airport late Monday afternoon was damaged as it sat on the taxiway by another passing plane.

Rudy King, spokesman for the Port Authority New York and New Jersey, says the Air Canada jet was stationary on the taxiway when an American Eagle plane operated by Republic Airlines that was attempting to turn clipped its wing.

Coverage of Air Canada on Globalnews.ca:

King says both planes continued to their gates under their own power.

He says a 38-year-old woman on the American Eagle flight suffered a neck and back injury.

READ MORE: Air Canada’s near-miss could have been ‘worst aviation accident in history’ — report

Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah says the A320 jet was arriving from Toronto with 142 passengers and everyone on board disembarked normally, but the aircraft is now out of service.

Tim Clark, an Air Canada passenger who was waiting at the gate to board the plane for its return flight to Toronto, says some passengers who left the plane went immediately to the windows to snap pictures of the damage.


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