'Abusive' passenger claims to have AK-47

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 10:18 25/03/2014

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A "disruptive" passenger on an international flight to Christchurch was met by police after lighting up a cigarette and claiming he had an AK-47 machine gun.

The passenger, believed to be an Australian in his 30s, was onboard Jetstar flight JQ171 arriving from Melbourne about 5am yesterday.

Another passenger, who did not want to named, said he was half-asleep when he noticed the man in the row in front of him had lit up a cigarette.

He said the man had definitely been drinking, and was verbally abusive toward the crew.

"He had had a gutsful and just wanted to get off the plane," he said. "He was being fairly belligerent."

When the crew wanted to search his cabin baggage, the man told them there was an AK-47 in it.

The passenger said he believed the man was "just mouthing off" and there was no gun.

He said it appeared the man realised what a "stupid" comment it was to make as soon as he had said it when the crew became noticeably more nervous.

The passenger praised the crew for their handling of the situation.

A Jetstar spokesman said confirmed there was a "disruptive" passenger on board Jetstar flight JQ171 overnight Sunday from Melbourne to Christchurch.

He said the crew handled the incident on board.

Police met the passenger upon arrival in Christchurch, and the matter was now with police.

"Jetstar does not tolerate antisocial behaviour."

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- The Press

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