Days after Lisbon airport was plunged into a major alert due to illegal immigrants taking to the runway, new terror has been reported in the skies as a disruptive passenger forced an emergency landing during an Easyjet flight from Edinburgh to Madeira.
The Scottish man claimed to have a gun on board, but was quickly subdued by cabin crew staff and later handed over to PSP police.
According to Portuguese press, the incident happened at 7pm on Monday. The PSP has refused to say what kind of action they took, writes Correio da Manhã.
Meantime, the UK’s Daily Mail has presented the story as a drama, under the headline: “Holidaymakers are terrified when their EasyJet flight to Madeira is forced into an emergency landing when a passenger claims to have a gun on board”.
The upset began with a row, says the Mail, that left families on board “panic stricken”.
Cabin crew are described as searching through overhead compartments for the gun which was not found.
The commotion did not pass to all sections of the plane, however. A passenger told the Mail that people at the front were not really aware of anything, other than the fact that the plane was starting an unexpected descent.
“We weren’t aware of trouble until we were told to fasten our seat belts as we were going to experience light turbulence”, she said.
“After about ten minutes, it became obvious we were descending and the captain said we were landing in Lisbon for a passenger to get off.
“At first we thought someone was ill but they hadn’t asked if anyone medically qualified was on board”.
After the plane landed in Lisbon, the captain told passengers that police would be boarding the jet, said the Mail.
The paper’s contact passenger added that “police entered the rear of the plane and took the passenger off before coming back on and taking statements from the pilot and crew”.
The woman said “full credit” went to the captain and crew for their handling of the situation.
The flight later went on with its journey to Madeira, picking up passengers who had been waiting to fly home to Edinburgh.
A spokesperson for EasyJet said afterwards: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.
“EasyJet’s cabin crew are trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.
While incidents like this one are rare, said the spokesperson, EasyJet “takes them very seriously, does not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour on board and always pushes for prosecution”.