Furious passengers stage mutiny at Heathrow

Eight police officers had to board a delayed flight from Heathrow when irate passengers staged a 'mutiny'.

The Beirut-bound Middle East Airlines plane with 230 passengers aboard had to abort a 5pm take-off on Thursday, after missing its original 1pm departure slot.

With the plane not given another slot until around 7.30pm, passengers started to argue with the crew, began stealing food and started pushing and shoving and name-calling.

A Lebanese woman passenger was said to have suffered heart palpitations and a male passenger became so enraged that he needed to be given oxygen.

As many as eight police officers boarded the plane at 5.50pm, but there were no arrests and the plane eventually took off with all the passengers on board.

One London-based passenger said: 'The atmosphere was very tense and a middle-aged man told the crew member he was an idiot.

'And that was when the pushing and shoving began. The captain came out once and I told him he had failed in his duty, to which he replied I should fly the plane.'

The airline said it did not allow passengers to disembark because it was hopeful of getting a take-off slot and did not want to miss it.

The plane had been taxiing along the runway at 5pm when the control tower told the plane that it could not take off due to bad weather en route.

Middle East Airlines UK and Ireland manager Naima Kassir said the flight eventually took off at around 8pm and arrived in Beirut five hours later without further incident, saying: 'Some passengers were in transit from Canada and must have been tired. They got abusive and intimidated the crew.'

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