Plane makes emergency landing after elderly passenger assaults pilot

Police said 82-year-old acted erratically during flight

Updated: 


A light plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a paddock when an 82-year-old passenger tried to grab the aircraft's controls.

The 23-year-old pilot flying the plane in central western New South Wales, Australia had to restrain the elderly passenger and landed the Beechcraft Duchess aircraft in Oberon on Monday afternoon.

Sydney Morning Herald reports that police said the elderly man booked the flight from Bankstown to Cowra for a business trip but started acting erratically during the flight.

Acting Inspector Gareth Smith said: "The pilot said that he started grabbing the controls, turning off fuel lines, and turning buttons randomly on and off."

According to ABC, the elderly passenger was taken to hospital for treatment of head and facial injuries.

There was minor damage to the aircraft and police are investigating the incident.

In 2012, an elderly partially blind man who displayed unruly behaviour after becoming frightened on board a plane caused an emergency landing - making a Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Florida take 19 hours in the process.

The man, 86, started kicking and screaming. Police spokesman Kese Smith said the man was travelling alone and only spoke French.

Mr Smith explained the man became scared and swung at other passengers.

Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the man refused to follow instructions given by the cabin crew, so the decision was made to divert the plane for the safety of everybody on board.

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