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Three charged after fight breaks out in plane to Attawapiskat

Friday May 23, 2014

A fight that broke out in a plane carrying Attawapiskat residents has led to three people being charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft.

On May 20, Air Tindi Flight 803 was returning Attawapiskat evacuees home when a fight broke out mid-flight.

A video of incident that circulated on Facebook showed an angry dispute taking place when a woman was assaulted by another passenger in the aisle near the front of the plane. Another person appears to become involved in assaulting the woman while a flight attendant and another passenger try to separate them, instructing them to return to their seat. The video, less than a half-minute in length, concluded with commotion still taking place.

The plane was carrying families with children, including an infant who was visible in the video. As of May 22, the video was removed by the uploader.

The passengers on board the plane were returning home after being evacuated a few days prior due to the threat of flooding in their community.

Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers in the Attawapiskat detachment were notified of the incident and began an investigation once the plane arrived at the Attawapiskat airport.

As a result, several charges had been laid against three people, two being young persons who cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Cindy Okimaw, 27, of Attawapiskat has been charged with endangering safety of aircraft under the Criminal Code of Canada.

One youth was charged with endangering safety of aircraft and two counts of assault, while the second youth was charged with endangering safety of aircraft and one count of assault.

All three accused were released on conditions and will appear in court in Attawapiskat on Aug. 27.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, one of the definitions of the Endangering Safety of Aircraft or Airport charge is when anyone “on board an aircraft in flight, commits an act of violence against a person that is likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft.”

The charge is an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, according to the Criminal Code.

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