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Passenger’s drunken air rage foiled by police hockey team

Nov. 27, 2013, Toronto - A Ontario man’s drunken attempt to storm the cockpit and strangle the flight crew of a Toronto-bound airliner earlier this month was foiled thanks to a hockey team of off-duty police officers who just happened to be sharing the same flight.


November 27, 2013
By The National Post

“The crew was quite surprised when we told them there were 17 police
officers on the flight,” said Les Baylis, a Halton Police constable and
member of Justice Hockey Canada, a recreational men’s team made up of
Ontario police officers.

 

Flight crew later credited the impromptu squad of Ontario police with
averting an emergency landing on the Atlantic Coast to discharge the
increasingly unruly passenger.

 

The incident occurred on a LOT Polish Airlines flight from Warsaw to
Toronto on Nov. 11. The Justice Hockey Canada was aboard, returning from
the Czech National Police Hockey Championships.

 

Just as the Boeing 767 was midway over the Atlantic Ocean, a First
Class passenger flew into a rage after being denied alcohol service.

 

The rampage kicked off with the passenger pounding on the door to the
cockpit, but he soon turned his aggression to the rest of the flight
crew. He assaulted a female flight attendant attempting to calm him, and
then stalked his way to the back of the aircraft where he cornered
another flight attendant in the galley, removing his leather belt.

 

Flight attendants did not know Justice Hockey Canada was aboard, but
by happenstance they approached team goalie Kyle Talsma for assistance
because, at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he was the most physically
imposing.

 

“Myself and the guy sitting beside me, we made our way to the back
and saw the guy with his belt around the steward’s throat trying to
choke him out,” said Mr. Talsma, a detective constable with Halton
Police.

 

“At that point we took physical control of him,” he said. “We had to
pretty much maintain physical control of him for the last 3.5 hours of
the flight.”

 

Mr. Talsma said the man would calm down a few minutes, but then fire right back up into a renewed tirade.

 

“In the last hour, when we started our descent into Pearson he got
really worked up; lots of threats, trying to headbutt officers, punch
officers, yelling and screaming at people passing — just unpleasant,” he
said.

 

The man was eventually bound to a row of seats in the rear of the aircraft using seatbelts.

 

“I cinched a seatbelt around his waist and then used the outboard
seatbelts to secure his hands. … They didn’t have any zip ties or
handcuffs on board,” said Mr. Baylis, who assisted in monitoring the
irate flier.

 

“He was raging and screaming, threatening to hit guys, he was out of control,” said Mr. Baylis.

 

When the plane touched down at Pearson International Airport, two
tactical officers with Peel Regional Police were already on hand to
board the aircraft and haul the man away in handcuffs.

 

Henryk Glowala of St. Catharines was charged with assault, two counts
of assault with a deadly weapon and endangering the safety of an
aircraft.