• Switzerland edition
 
Reclining seat row sparked Swiss plane fight
A Swiss Airbus A340 taking off from Zurich (File photo: Gab01/Wikimedia)

Reclining seat row sparked Swiss plane fight

Published: 04 Sep 2012 11:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Sep 2012 13:10 GMT+02:00

A 57-year-old man having dinner on the Airbus 340 became upset when a 29-year-old man sitting in front of him refused to raise his seat to the upright position, Blick.ch reports.

“The elder of the two was irritated,” Valerie Sprenger, a tour guide from Saint Gallen who was sitting four rows away, told the German-language website.

“As the young man did not respond to his yells, (the older man) struck him with the flat of his hand on the head,” said Sprenger, who was accompanying a tour group of 27 people to Beijing.

The younger man responded by shoving his assailant in the chest and soon they were wrestling on the floor, she said.

The incident occurred as the aircraft was flying over Russia near Moscow, about four and a half hours after take-off and with 200 passengers on board.

As the situation deteriorated the captain made the decision to return the plane to Zurich.

The head cabin steward attempted to mediate the quarrel but the older man attacked him, Sprenger said.

“Thank God, a strong passenger came to the rescue.”

A brief video on the Blick.ch website shows a chaotic scene with airline staff tending to a head injury received by the older combatant.

The injured man seemed to be “pretty drunk”, Sprenger said.

The cabin crew bound his hands with a cable and placed him in the back row of the plane where he cried out for an hour, she said.   

Zurich cantonal police, who arrested the two combatants, confirmed that alcohol was involved in the case.

Not everyone was happy with the decision of the captain to return to Zurich, where the Swiss airline put up passengers in a hotel for the night.

The airline re-booked flights to Beijing for the passengers with other carriers.

A machine factory manager from Germany aboard the plane said he missed 20 meetings in China and he couldn’t understand why the two men couldn’t have been dealt with by Chinese authorities.

“You could have them both checked with the Beijing police,” he told Blick.ch.

“Then we would have not had all these troubles.”

UPDATE: Zurich justice authorities on Tuesday said the 57-year-old man who started the fight paid a fine and a portion of the administrative costs before being released from custody. 

The amount of the fine was not released.

Since no-one filed assault charges, Zurich authorities charged the man with "disturbing public transport".

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

2012-09-11 02:10:50 by stablemate77
think the younger guy should have to drunk china.man out....clearly not what should go on in air....really people chair must go up only at takeoff and landing.....guess china man didnt get deal in europe....smile)
Today's headlines
Jailed Morsi aide's wife seeks UN help in Egypt
Photo: AFP

Jailed Morsi aide's wife seeks UN help in Egypt

The Canadian wife of an imprisoned former aide to deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is in Geneva this week seeking UN help to free her husband and end "horrific" rights abuses in Egypt. READ  

Swiss top two officially tapped for Davis Cup
Wawrinka and Federer at past Davis Cup competition. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Swiss top two officially tapped for Davis Cup

Switzerland captain Severin Lüthi will tap the star power of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka when the Alpine country faces Italy in next month's Davis Cup, Swiss Tennis announced on Wednesday. READ  

Worldwide damage from natural disasters drops
Swiss Re headquarters in Zurich. Photo: Swiss Re

Worldwide damage from natural disasters drops

Natural disasters caused total economic losses of $41 billion in the first six months of this year, much less than usual, reinsurance group Swiss Re estimated on Wednesday. READ  

Swiss consumer spending falls: report
Vehicle registrations rose but other consumer spending indicators dropped. Photo: AFP

Swiss consumer spending falls: report

Swiss consumer spending and sentiment dropped in July after reaching a six-year high in the previous month, UBS said in a report issued on Wednesday. READ  

Driver jailed for running over footballer — twice
Photo: Sukhjeet Batth

Driver jailed for running over footballer — twice

A 24-year-old man in Geneva is appealing a jail sentence of four years and six months for driving into a football player twice while drunk — the second time intentionally — causing injuries that forced the athlete to give up his career. READ  

Federer advances to US Open second round
Photo: Don Emmert/AFP

Federer advances to US Open second round

Switzerland's Roger Federer advanced to the second round of the US Open tennis tournament on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Australian Marinko Matosevic. READ  

Feud confirmed in mosque shooting death
Photo: Saint Gallen cantonal police

Feud confirmed in mosque shooting death

Police confirmed on Tuesday that the shooting death of a man in a mosque in the Swiss city of Saint Gallen last Friday was the result of a settling of accounts between two Albanian families. READ  

Zurich officials declare 'sex boxes' a success
Photo: City of Zurich

Zurich officials declare 'sex boxes' a success

Swiss authorities are basking in the afterglow of a decision to create a "sex drive-in" in Zurich, with social services hailing it a success on its first anniversary on Tuesday. READ  

WHO urges ban on e-cigarettes for minors
Photo: Jim Watson/AFP

WHO urges ban on e-cigarettes for minors

Governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, the Geneva-based World Health Organization said on Tuesday, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. READ  

Swiss officials deny Mafia arrests in Thurgau
Scene from Italian police video. Photo: YouTube

Swiss officials deny Mafia arrests in Thurgau

Justice officials in Bern are denying reports from Italian police that 16 alleged members of the Mafia were arrested in the town of Thurgau, a Swiss town, saying that investigations are still ongoing. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly hailed for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
National
Two hundred passengers rescued after landslide derails Swiss train
Travel
Switzerland remains world champion for per capita train travel
Culture
Social media backlash forces Polanski to bow out of Locarno film festival
National
Two policemen identified among three Israelis killed in train crash
Features
Untouched Alps: The Local explores Switzerland's only national park
National
Swiss government secretary tweets nude ‘selfies’ taken at work
International
Swiss couples fined in Ibiza for making love in van without seatbelts
National
Schumacher medical record theft suspect hangs himself in Zurich cell
National
Thousands of motorists drive without permits in Switzerland: report
National
Switzerland celebrates the centennial of national park in Graubünden
National
Animal rights group protests over dead fish throwing at festival
National
Federer forced to tear down kids' play area at Graubünden holiday home
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
National
European Union rejects Swiss bid to rejig freedom of movement deal
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,074
jobs available