Witnesses to midair fight slam airline over passenger safety

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A woman aboard a flight from the Gold Coast on Monday on which a man lashed out violently at passengers says the airline can not be trusted to keep passengers safe.

A man was arrested after he punched a fellow passenger aboard flight TR7 a few hours into the eight-hour flight from Queensland to Singapore, forcing the aircraft to divert to Sydney.

The airline, Scoot, responded to the woman's complaint on Twitter, saying a "disruptive passenger" was "handed to local law enforcement for processing".

Flight crew, passengers and restraining kits were used to subdue the man, who had disturbed other passengers before becoming violent, prompting the crew to stop serving him alcohol.

Passenger Rico David Garilli, who was bound for Thailand for his wedding, claimed the passenger drank heavily before lashing out.

"After our flight was announced delayed, this guy started drinking heavy," he wrote on Facebook.

"About 20 minutes into the flight he started becoming aggressive and had to be restrained after all of this kicked off.

"Two hours into the flight from Gold Coast to Singapore and they turn around and head for Sydney."

Mr Garilli's fiancee Emma Harrison said flight attendants were also attacked.

"One of them got pushed over and he was pretty horrendous to everyone. They had to put his shirt over his face once they restrained him to stop him spitting at people," she said.

A Scoot spokeswoman said the passenger appeared normal during take-off.

Passengers on Scoot flight TR7 from the Gold Coast to Singapore covered the man's face with a shirt to stop him from spitting.

Passengers on Scoot flight TR7 from the Gold Coast to Singapore covered the man's face with a shirt to stop him from spitting.Credit:Rico David Garilli - Facebook

"After approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes into the flight, flight TR7 operating Gold Coast-Singapore on 21 January had diverted to Sydney Airport due to a disruption onboard caused by an unruly passenger," the statement read.

"During boarding and take-off, the passenger appeared normal. After take-off, he began to disturb surrounding passengers.

"Operating crew quickly moved them to other seats, in an attempt to defuse the situation. Crew were also instructed not to sell alcohol to him.

"A while later, the unruly passenger punched another passenger. Following safety procedure, our crew stepped in to break up the fight, and were assisted by other passengers.

"The unruly passenger was eventually subdued with two restraining kits, with the help of five passengers.

"A decision was made to return to Sydney where he was handed over to local law enforcement.

"Crew checked on the passenger who had been assaulted, and he confirmed he did not need medical attention.

"In Sydney, we were able to transfer the passengers to alternative flights bound for Singapore, on both Scoot’s flights as well as Singapore Airlines’ flights."

But passengers expressed their frustration at the airline's management of the fracas, including Steph O’Laughlin, who took to Twitter.

"Absolutely no confidence in the ability of Scoot employees to ensure my safety and arrival to my destination," she wrote to Scoot.

"I was on the flight, I know what happened. The way your company has handled everything, including the situation with the mentioned passenger, has been deplorable.

"That passenger should not have been allowed to reboard after the delay but because your staff were trying to keep the delay under three hours they weren’t doing their jobs properly."

Australian Federal Police officers and paramedics met the flight at Sydney Airport.

No charges have been laid, with inquiries continuing.

- with AAP