Woman demanded parachute before attacking cabin crew with false leg

Edinburgh airport logo on airport building June 2013 Quality image
Edinburgh Airport: The plane was diverted to London when the fight broke out.

A flight to Scotland had to be diverted through London after a drunk passenger attacked cabin crew with her prosthetic leg.

The 48-year-old woman demanded "cigarettes and a parachute" before crew asked her to quieten down.

She then slapped a young girl sat next to her before unfastening her leg and swinging it at staff on board the Thomson flight from Tunisia to Edinburgh.

The pilot made an emergency landing at Gatwick on Wednesday night where the woman was escorted off the plane by police as fellow passengers sang the Hokey Cokey.

John Smith from Falkirk witnessed the woman’s outburst, which is thought to have started at the resort in Tunisia and continued onto the plane.

He said: "We were coming back from Tunisia when this lady kicked off. She was off her face on drink.

"She was shouting 'I want cigarettes' and that she wanted a parachute to jump off the plane.

"She slapped a young girl and then assaulted the cabin crew with her prosthetic leg. They took it off her, but she started kicking them with her good leg.

"It sounds funny, but it was not a laughing matter at the time. It was serious. She was totally drunk. It was pretty shocking.

"When police came on board to escort her off the plane, people started singing the Hokey Cokey.

"She embarrassed everybody on the flight. A lot of people were upset about it, especially those with children.

"We had to sit on the runway for about an hour while the police took statements from passengers. The cabin crew were absolutely amazing and very professional in the way they dealt with it."

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "At 10.22pm on Wednesday 30 July a 48-year-old unemployed woman from Edinburgh was arrested at the North Terminal, Gatwick Airport, on suspicion of using threatening behaviour while aboard Thompson flight 297 from Tunisia to Edinburgh.

"The flight was diverted into Gatwick after it was alleged the woman had been abusive and had thrown a prosthetic leg and food at cabin crew. The woman is being interviewed and is currently in custody at Crawley police station."

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: "We can confirm that a Thomson flight bound for its destination was diverted to land at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday night. Two members of the public were taken away by Sussex Police."

The flight was supposed to arrive in Edinburgh at 11.30pm but did not land until 2.30am on Thursday.

Twitter user Sarah Wilson took to the social media site while the plane was waiting on the tarmac in London.

She wrote: "Can't believe were stuck in London because some crazy drunk woman with one leg started a bloody fight."