Plane diverted to Portugal after mid-air fierce family row
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012, 00:14
  
London: A flight to a Spanish island was diverted to Portugal after a mid-air heated argument broke out between five family members, who were then evicted.

The argument between passengers David Laughton, 39, his partner Sarah Wilson, 28, and their children became so heated that the pilot, en route to Spanish island Lanzarote, was forced to land in Portugal and ordered them off the plane.

The couple, from Hartlepool, Cleveland, were travelling with Laughton's two sons, Lee Doram and a 14-year-old from a previous relationship, and the couple's own child.

Holidaymakers were forced to wait as the quarrelling family were marched off the plane by waiting police officers at Porto airport, the Daily Mail reported.

Members of the family were questioned but eventually released without charge but not before their outburst cost the UK-based carrier, Thomson Airways, an estimated 35,000 pounds.

They then left seventeen-year-old stepson Doram alone in Porto as they caught another flight to their holiday destination.

The family were heading to the island for a two week all-inclusive break costing 1,500 pounds when the argument broke out on the flight from Newcastle on September 13.

Diverting the plane was a last resort, a spokesman for the airline said.

"We would like to apologise to passengers for any disruption encountered during the flight. Unfortunately a party of passengers became disruptive on board and as a last resort the flight had to be diverted to Portugal," the spokesman said.

"Upon landing, the aircraft was met by local police and the passengers were removed from the flight for further questioning," he said.

"Thompson operates a zero tolerance policy with regards to any disruptive behaviour on board and incidents of this type are extremely rare," he added.

Jannine Bird, Doram's mother, who is also mother to the 14-year-old, was horrified to discover that Doram had been left alone at the airport.

Bird, who split with Laughton a decade ago after an eight-year relationship, said: "To leave Lee all by himself in a foreign country is just appalling."

She made desperate arrangements with the Foreign Office and the British Embassy in Portugal to bring Doram home safely after he spent 24 hours waiting outside the police station and the airport.

British embassy staff arranged for him to be flown home in London, where he lives with Bird with the 14-year-old child in Islington.

PTI


First Published: Friday, September 21, 2012, 22:38


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