Plane carrying 3 teen prisoners forced to return mid-flight after inmate lunges at pilot
PERTH, AUSTRALIA: A charter flight transporting three teen prisoners was forced to return mid-flight after a 17-year-old boy allegedly attempted to rush at the pilot in Western Australia on Wednesday, September 7. The plane was Perth-bound but returned to Broome a few minutes after taking off. Authorities told the press that a review is ongoing about prisoner transport safety after this ‘very scary’ incident.
All three prisoners were being transferred to Banksia Hill Detention Centre. Mid-flight, one of the teen prisoners, on trial for dangerously driving a stolen car through the center of Broome, decided to lunge at the pilot on board. Western Australia Corrective Services Commissioner Mike Reynolds said all three detainees were handcuffed on the plane, and the accused showed no prior signs of being unruly or aggressive before his alleged actions. "A few minutes into the flight, one of the detainees decided to get out of his seat and move towards the pilot," Reynolds informed ABC Radio Perth as quoted by ABC News. He further said, "He was restrained by a youth custodial officer and taken down because he continued to struggle, and once he was on the ground he started to kick at the plane infrastructure."
Reynolds hailed the spontaneity of custodial staff for stopping the situation from escalating and bringing it under control. Once the accused charged toward the pilot, the other two teen detainees also allegedly started creating a ruckus. He said, "It was very scary for all involved but I think they [custodial staff] did a fantastic job." Five WA Department of Justice youth guards, who were on board, brought the situation under control before landing.
The officer shared that as per the protocol, staff had evaluated the 17-year-old and gave a green signal on the teen being safe to fly. Reynolds hinted that 'other security measures may now be explored due to this incident. "I'm not going to go into security details but we do have other options and other restraints," he added.
Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan also responded, calling it a ‘disturbing incident’. "Can I pass on my thoughts and thanks to the staff and the pilots on that aircraft for the way they managed a very very difficult situation”, he said in a statement. "This sort of extreme behavior is what we're dealing with and it's completely and utterly unacceptable."