F-15 jets escort Cuba-bound Canadian aircraft to Montreal due to 'unruly customer making non-specific threats'

The flight, with 170 passengers on board, was intercepted near Albany, N.Y.

ByABC News
July 8, 2017, 1:13 AM

— -- Two NORAD F-15 fighter jets intercepted a Cuba-bound aircraft operated by Canada's Sunwing Airlines in upstate New York Thursday night, and escorted it back to Montreal after a passenger made "non specific threats" on board the Boeing 737 aircraft, the airline said.

"We can confirm that flight WG604 which departed Montreal’s Dorval airport for Cayo Coco earlier this evening turned around due to an unruly customer making non-specific threats," the Toronto-based low-cost carrier said Tin a statement of the flight, which was intercepted near Albany. "The flight arrived back around 7:25 p.m. and the disruptive customer was taken into police custody.

The passenger, 39-year-old Quebec resident Charalabos "Bobby" Nassios appeared in court on Friday to face charges of assault, death threats and threats to aviation security, according to Canada's CTV News, an ABC partner.

Montreal police spokesperson Andree-Anne Picard told CTV News that Nassios was allegedly drinking alcohol and disturbing passengers. Police also said he had made non-specific threats that were not terrorism related but caused the flight to turn back.

The 170 passengers re-departed for Cuba, but not for several hours.

"Unfortunately the next viable departure slot to operate into Cayo Coco is 4:30 a.m.," the airline said. "Sunwing has provided affected customers with accommodations and meal vouchers and is very apologetic for the inconvenience."

NORAD spokesman Lt. Commander Joe Nawrocki told ABC News that the F-15 jets were dispatched from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts.

ABC News' Benjamin Stein contributed to this report.

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