A Sunwing plane, similar to the one shown above, was en route to Cuba when it was forced to return to Toronto on Wednesday due to two 'unruly' female passengers who were later arrested.
Two women from Ontario will face charges after their behaviour aboard a Cuba-bound flight prompted the pilot to turn back to Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Wednesday, police say.
Facing charges of endangering the safety of an aircraft and smoking on an aircraft are:
- Melana Muzikante, 26, of Vaughan.
- Lilia Ratmanski, 25, of Whitby.
On Thursday morning, police tweeted that the two accused are also facing charges of mischief over $5,000, mischief endangering life and uttering threats.
Police allege the women aboard the afternoon flight from Toronto to Varadero drank most of their duty-free alcohol, got into a fight with each other and activated a smoke alarm by lighting a cigarette in the lavatory.
A spokesperson for Sunwing told CBC News the women also "made a threat against the aircraft, which was considered non-credible, given their condition."
Escorted to Toronto by military planes
The pilot of the 737 described the two women as disruptive "in a serious manner," and reported to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) while the plane was in U.S. airspace that the aircraft was "under threat."
Officials with NORAD's Canadian sector in Winnipeg told CBC News that they sent two Canadian Forces CF-18 fighters from CFB Bagotville in Quebec to intercept Sunwing Flight 656 and escort it back to Pearson.
Police were called to the airport between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. The women were arrested when the plane landed, said Const. George Tudos of Peel Regional Police.
"The disruptive behaviour of these two individuals prompted that pilot to make a decision to come back to Pearson," said Tudos. "So obviously charges will be pending and will be in relation to their actions on board that aircraft."
The flight was preparing to take off again late Wednesday night with a new flight crew. Passengers were provided with meal vouchers and the airline apologized for the incident.
The women are expected to appear in a Brampton, Ont., court Thursday.
Cuba has drawn more than 1 million Canadian tourists annually in recent years, according to data published by Statistics Canada.
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