A man caused “pandemonium” on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin yesterday after he made a hoax coronavirus claim.
Job van den Broek, from the Netherlands, 30, made a false coronavirus claim on board flight EI 605 while on his way to Los Angeles.
Cabin crew on board the Are Lingus flight pleaded with him to finish a phone call so they could give the standard safety demonstration.
The 30-year-old refused, and later told air staff he was using his phone because his mother had coronavirus and he had been in contact with her.
Dublin District Court heard “pandemonium” quickly broke out among passengers and cabin crew began crying.
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He then refused to either confirm or deny that he himself had deadly Covid-19, which has been sweeping the globe.
Broek pleaded guilty to an air rage charge and sentenced to two months in prison by Judge Conal Gibbons who said his crime was "unbelievable."
He said the case was "the most exceptional of exceptional circumstances" and "unbelievable" considering the "world is in a state of fear and anxiety."
The judge said that Van den Broek thought there were special rules for him and lied to a flight attendant.
Mid-flight, the court heard he asked to speak to the flight attendant to explain why he had been on his phone.
He said his mother had the coronavirus and he had been in contact with her but did not live with her.
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Cabin crew began crying, passengers overheard and it caused upset, disruption and inconvenience.
When the plane landed, gardaí had to be called and arrived at "a hostile situation on the aircraft".
The court heard Van den Broek thought it was a joke and wanted to have his photo taken with gardaí and HSE staff.
Van den Broek told the court he was sorry and wanted to clear the air with the Aer Lingus staff who refused to accept his remorse.
He said he had been trying to tell the attendant that it was a personal call and said he had mentioned his mother "could have coronavirus".
As he was sentenced, Broek buried his head in his hands, but later walked free from court after being granted bail pending an appeal.
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