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Durban – A woman was escorted off a passenger plane by police yesterday evening after she refused to keep her mask on while waiting for the flight to take off.
Passengers boarded the FlySafair flight at King Shaka International Airport and were waiting for it to take off when a flight attendant noticed that the woman had pulled down her mask.
In a video clip taken by one of the passengers, the flight attendant is heard explaining the correct way to wear a mask – covering the nose and mouth.
The woman then shouted back at the flight attendant, and after a verbal altercation the police were called to escort her off the plane.
During the exchange between the flight crew and the woman, other passengers can be heard telling the woman to put her mask on.
“Thank you, you’re delaying our flight,” says one passenger.
“We want to go home,” shouts another.
“Please jump off the plane,” says a third person.
Eventually police officers arrive and the woman is escorted off the flight. Other passengers clap and cheer.
As the woman disembarks, she has another verbal altercation with another passenger and then leaves.
The flight, which later landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, was delayed by about 45 minutes.
FlySafair chief marketing officer Kirby Gordon said: “As we all know, it’s a legal requirement to wear a mask in public places, and aircraft are not exempt from this requirement. South African civil aviation regulations are very specific about the fact that all air travellers are required to wear cloth masks over their nose and mouth, unless they can [show] evidence that they are somehow medically unfit to do so.
“The regulations hold airlines responsible for the enforcement of mask-wearing, and any non-compliance on our part would result in heavy penalties for the airline, even the possible suspension of our operating license, which would ground our entire operation. The customer in question was escorted off the aircraft by SAPS,” he said.