Members of the Russian youth hockey team have been removed from a flight leaving Canada because of inappropriate behavior and violation of the mask regime. It was reported by the Canadian TV channel Global News.
The flight was due to leave the Canadian city of Calgary on Friday evening.
In a statement released in connection with the incident, Calgary police said officers from the unit at the airport responded to an event aboard an Air Canada passenger flight at around 5:45 pm.
“Passengers were asked to leave the aircraft due to a disturbance involving several passengers in the cabin,” police said.
The statement did not officially state what led to the incident, but social media reports suggested that the Russian coach had not complied with the airline’s pre-flight rules.
Among the witnesses to the incident onboard is Thompson Rivers University professor Kathleen Scherf. She said the plane stood on the runway for almost two hours after it was due to leave for Frankfurt. Two Russian trainers were travelling next to her in business class.
“I noticed immediately that it was hard for the flight attendants because they had to be told to sit down, not to ‘vape’, to stop listening to their very loud heavy rock on their iPhones,” Scherf said.
She said airline staff subsequently made an announcement over the loudspeaker that passengers should leave the plane.
“There are police on board. There has been a security incident. To be safe, we all need to get off the plane as soon as possible and take away all your personal belongings,” they announced over the loudspeaker.
According to Scherf, several passengers told her that many of the players were drinking alcohol and trying to smoke a cigarette. The passenger was also struck by the team’s behavior when people returned to the terminal.
“They were still wearing masks under their chins. They were belligerent,” Scherf said, adding that the players were behaving impolitely.
There were members of the Czech national team on board, apart from the junior players from Russia, but officials said they had followed all the rules. However, according to Czech officials, their players were also ordered off the plane because of an unfortunate mistake, as they were wearing the same jerseys as the Russian players.