Published: Sat, February 08, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

WestJet flight diverts back to Toronto after passenger's coronavirus claim

WestJet flight diverts back to Toronto after passenger's coronavirus claim

"We were just over Florida and suddenly we felt that the plane was making a pretty dramatic turn", Julie-Anne Broderick told CBC News. Potok said he didn't expect a big reaction on board as he was hoping to make a viral video.

The WestJet flight carrying 243 people returned to Pearson International Airport in Toronto just after 2 p.m.

The pilot said because of the claim they could not land in the USA or Jamaica and the plane with some 243 passengers immediately made a turn back to Toronto.

WestJet subsequently apologised to its passengers, reassuring that the plane crew followed all protocols for infectious disease on board, and the man did not have coronavirus.

The social media megastar insisted he didn't perceive the level of the outbreak which has ruled the inside track for the previous few weeks. Potok also mentioned that he pulled out his phone and announced to passengers that Lil Wayne's album had just dropped and said "nobody had a problem with that".

A medical team and law enforcement officers were waiting when the plane touched down at Pearson.

He added: "It would be something else if I said, "Hey guys, I have a bomb strapped to me".

The flight path of Flight WS 2702 from Toronto which returned to Pearson International Airport after takeoff. FlightRadar24
The flight path of Flight WS 2702 from Toronto which returned to Pearson International Airport after takeoff. FlightRadar24

Not taking the matter lightly, airline staff gave him gloves and a face mask and later escorted him off the plane where local authorities arrested and charged him with mischief once the plane was back on Canadian ground.

28-year-old James Potok announced mid-flight on Monday that he had contracted the deadly virus, according to local police.

Tiffany Richards told Global News that she and her mother were on the flight at the time of the incident. What I did, I stood up, I said, 'Can I have everybody's attention?

As passengers became scared following Potok's announcement, the pilot made a decision to turn the plane around and return to Toronto.

On Wednesday, he issued a almost five-minute apology video on his POTOK Philippe YouTube channel, reading from a notebook and looking down at the camera.

In the United States, 11 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Washington, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Arizona.

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