Thursday, 20 April 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: FlySafair Passenger Thrown Off Flight For Racial Abuse

THIS is the moment a white man and his girlfriend are kicked off a plane after being accused of racism by black passengers.

The South African couple are seen being asked to leave the Flysafair plane, which was about to fly from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth, to the cheers of those around them.

A video of shot by another passenger shows the captain standing in the aisle listening as several passengers give their versions of what happened.

One woman claims the white man called a black passenger an “a**ehole” before directing what she alleges was a racist comment at her.

And she says the man threatened to punch one of the passengers – which he strongly denies.

She tells the pilot: “He called this gentleman an a**ehole and when we proceeded to say to him that’s unacceptable he said to me, ‘You people are all the same’.

“Sir, you are legally obligated to keep us safe. I do not feel safe going into the air with this kind of aggression.”

Backed up by other passengers, she goes on to claim he said “I’ll bliksem you” – a South African term meaning to punch or strike.

The man denies the accusations but eventually stands up and agrees to leave the aircraft – to applause from other passengers.

He says said: “We will get out of the way, thank you very much. We will get off the plane – but I want his name and I want his name and I want his name.”

The footage was shot last week but came to light after the United Airlines incident.

The airline said they were waiting to see if any investigation would be launched into the incident.

FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon praised the pilot saying he had been following Civil Aviation Safety procedures.

He said: “We are aware of an altercation that took place between two passengers on flight FA232 on Friday, April 7.

“We are awaiting approach from the authorities to provide any required information that would be required to resolve this case.

“It is the obligation of the Captain of an aircraft to make the final call regarding his view on any potential threats on board the aircraft.

“In accordance with this, we would like to commend the Captain for following Civil Aviation Safety procedures. Safety is, and will always remain our primary concern.”

Air safety and how passengers are being treated both by airlines and fellow passengers is a hot topic right now – the latest United Airlines issue being a major case in point.

A recent local incident has just surfaced as South Africa’s low-cost airline, Flysafair was forced to remove a passenger after alleged racist threats were made on a flight boarding for departure to Port Elizabeth on Friday, 7 April.

Footage shared on Twitter shows a couple addressing one of the cabin crew with their complaint about a fellow passenger sitting across the aisle from them.

The man had allegedly insulted another passenger by calling him an “asshole” and threatening violence, only to then reference further implied racism by saying “you people are all the same”, when the couple who had lodged the complaint told him his behaviour was unacceptable.

The couple have since been identified as Nthabi and Sanele Sibanda, a Wits University professor, according to a twitter user Jacqueline Rainers who retweeted the video saying the Sibanda’s are her relatives.

FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon confirmed the airline is aware of the incident and that FlySafair is fully prepared to co-operate with the investigation by authorities as required.

“We are aware of an altercation that took place between two passengers on flight FA232 on Friday 7 April and we are awaiting approach from the authorities to provide any required information that would be required to resolve this case,” says the airline.

“It is the obligation of the Captain of an aircraft to make the final call regarding his view on any potential threats on board the aircraft.

“In accordance with this, we would like to commend the Captain for following Civil Aviation Safety procedures. Safety is, and will always remain our primary concern.”

Youtuber, Sibu Mpanza also shared footage of the incident, with comments adding to the debate around the incident.

One user, Nicci Gericke wrote “Ah I never saw this but this was amazingly well handled. I would’ve kicked him off too if I had the power. Good for the people who stood up against that guy. Sis. They’re making us whiteys look bad.”

Also another user, Dirty Casual, says that the passenger accused of racist comments in the video “was 100% in the wrong”.

“I’ll be the odd one out then (White guy) and say that the white man in the video was 100% in the wrong. We don’t really know what happened before the video started to make him that aggravated but that gets thrown out once he refers to the person race. The fact that people also clapped him off the plane suggest he might have been the instigator at the start. So props for the people and the captain/co-pilot on the plane for handling the situation that well.”