A Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul Airport (IST) to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (JKT) was forced to make an emergency landing after an intoxicated passenger bit the finger of a cabin crew member.
Flight TK 56 was en route to Jakarta on October 11, 2022, when the passenger, who turned out to be an off-duty pilot for Indonesian carrier Batik Air, got into a physical altercation with the male cabin crew of the flight.
An Indonesian passenger on a Turkish Airlines flight TK56 to CGK yesterday was recorded assaulting a flight attendant, forcing the flight to land at KNO temporarily before resuming. Turns out he’s a Batik Air pilot returning from holiday in Turkey pic.twitter.com/X70KhjmTsX— Nuice Media (@nuicemedia) October 12, 2022
The flight was diverted to Medan’s Kualanamu Airport (KNO), where the off-duty pilot, identified as 48-year old Muhammad John Jaiz Boudewiji, who goes by the initials MJ, was cuffed and wheeled away by the authorities.
A passenger who claimed he was sitting near Boudewiji, wrote his version of events on Twitter, (translated to English by Coconuts.co)
Ternyata temen gw ada yg satu pesawat sama pilot Batik Air yang bikin kegaduhan di Turkish Airlines kemarin. pic.twitter.com/bMRynaYS7D— (@asliga) October 13, 2022
The witness claimed that he woke up to the sounds of commotion inside the cabin and saw two male cabin crew mediating a dispute between Boudewiji and other passengers.
During the second in-flight meal, the passenger said that Boudewiji tried to pick fights with other passengers and threatened to toss his cup of hot tea at a passenger behind him. The passenger said that he then called the cabin crew for help. This angered Boudewiji, who allegedly threw a piece of bread at the passenger’s face.
Three male cabin crew members then attempted to handle Boudewiji. This was the moment the video was taken. The passenger said that it was also at this point that Boudewiji managed to bite one of the cabin crew’s fingers.
When Boudewiji was subdued, he allegedly asked for a bottle of water. He then proceeded to spray water on the passengers around him. This time, the passengers restrained Boudewiji and he was handcuffed until the plane made an emergency landing.
Interestingly, Boudewiji also has his own version of events, which were noted in the official police investigation report, and also uploaded on Twitter.
According to Boudewiji, he had finished his prayers in the plane’s galley and when he returned to his seat, he found that a female passenger had stowed her pet dog in the cabin.
Boudewiji claimed that the dog licked him, and that was when he lost his temper.
In Islam, it is believed that a dog’s saliva is ‘ritually impure’, and if a person comes into contact with it, they should be washed seven times.
Boudewiji said he then directed his outrage towards the crew, whom he asked for written proof showing Turkish Airlines’ pet policy in the cabin.
Boudewiji claimed that after the first altercation between him and the crew, a female passenger suffered a heart attack, prompting him to shout for help. He said that at that point the cabin crew attacked him, and that he was forced to defend himself.
Boudewiji has since found a team of supporters including his wife and colleagues who back his claim that he does not drink alcohol. Interestingly, the police who apprehended Boudewiji after the emergency landing claims that there are no traces of alcohol in his urine.
No charges have yet been brought against Boudewiji.