Two pulled from plane over 9/11 video

Father and son watching 9/11 videos yanked off Air Canada plane. (QMI Agency photo illustration)

Father and son watching 9/11 videos yanked off Air Canada plane. (QMI Agency photo illustration)

DON PEAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

TORONTO - This in-flight movie got a father and son kicked off a plane.

Two Air Canada passengers were pulled from their Orlando-bound flight before takeoff from Toronto's Pearson Airport after another passenger spotted them watching video of the 9/11 terror attacks.

QMI Agency columnist Joe Warmington, on his way to cover the Conrad Black story in Florida, was on the same plane when another passenger alerted the flight crew after spotting the young boy watching video on his iPod of the planes smashing into the World Trade Centre, just before the plane took off for U.S. airspace.

Air Canada officials confirmed to the Sun the two passengers, a man and a boy, were watching video of the 9/11 attacks before flight AC922 departed Tuesday night.

"Other passengers and our crew became concerned," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told the Sun Wednesday. "The passengers were deplaned and following an investigation allowed to travel (Wednesday) morning.

"Safety and security as well as the comfort of all our passengers and crew is always our top concern and we take whatever steps we deem necessary to provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment," he said.

An Air Canada employee told Warmington at first the man tried to cover up the video when staff went to talk to him.

"It made everyone nervous," the employee said, adding the entire incident may have been a coincidence.

"I don't know if it was the right decision," the employee said. "But better safe than sorry."

Peel Regional Police Const. Samantha Nulle said officers assisted the airline with the complaint, meeting the two passengers at the gate when they were taken off the plane.

Investigators found no criminal offence had taken place, she said.

Nulle said she couldn't confirm the two were watching 9/11 scenes.

"The two were cleared of all allegations and set out on the next flight," she said.

The terror video scare wasn't the only delay on the flight that night.

Passengers were told missing baggage was delaying the plane's takeoff even before they were told there would be a further delay due to the "security problem."

After the two passengers were taken off the plane, it was going to take off but was then aborted due to mechanical issues. Passengers were finally switched to another plane and the flight continued to Orlando.

A CBC employee, one of three CBC staffers and several other journalists on the plane heading to Florida to cover the Black story, commented he'd "never been on a flight like this."

Passenger Mike Berrouard, a Toronto businessman, told Warmington the whole ordeal was "scary."

"That was definitely the strangest flight of my career," he said.

- With files from Joe Warmington

don.peat@sunmedia.ca


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