Air rage - Vernon man to the rescue

A Vernon man is being hailed as a hero after single-handedly subduing a drunken passenger on a flight from China to Vancouver this past weekend.

James Leigh is a former military man who was startled when a fellow passenger on his China Southern Airlines flight 329 started causing the disturbance.

"I heard screaming and there was a fellow swinging at everyone,” James Leigh told CTV News.

“I basically had to jump on him and hold him down while they brought out handcuffs.”

Leigh said he had to restrain the man, who appeared to be very intoxicated, for three hours until he fell asleep.

According to other witnesses, the flight was halfway into its 12,000-kilometre trek to Vancouver from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport when the man started throwing punches.

The passenger, 25-year-old Abdul Zain Ali from Australia, has been charged with causing a disturbance, mischief and assault.

He made a court appearance on Tuesday and plead guilty to causing a disturbance and will be deported back to Australia.

Ali was sentenced to time served as well as a two- year probation banning him from drinking within 24 hours of getting on any Canadian plane or any flight to Canada. 

Ali told the court he’s very sorry for causing such embarrassment and shame.

Ali’s family said he was served too much alcohol on the plane and would not have normally acted in such a violent manner.

“He's ashamed of what he's done and feels really bad for the mistake he's made and he's learning his lesson,” said Ali’s aunt Farrah Ibrahim.

Ali’s cousin Javed Hussein was on the flight with Ali and said he tried to intervene.

“I tried to stop him, we tried to stop him at the time, it just was too late,”Hussein said.

A spokesperson for China Southern Airlines said Ali was drinking from a bottle of Chivas Regal he had brought on board, and they tried unsuccessfully to get him to stop drinking.

-- With files from CTV



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