Saturday 3 December 2016

McGregor fans' flight forced to turn back after fight breaks out onboard

Declan Whooley and Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 12/12/2015 | 02:30

A JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas was forced to return to John F Kennedy International airport following an in-flight disturbance.

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The flight, which was carrying a number of Irish UFC supporters ahead of Conor McGregor's title unification fight with Jose Aldo late tonight, had to return to New York after a fight broke out just 25 minutes into the five-and-a -half hour flight.

The airline did not confirm that the altercation involved Irish fans, but other passengers on board have shared posts on Facebook claiming that the two individuals involved were Irish.

David Coyne was a passenger on-board and posted the sequence of events on Facebook, adding that another unruly passenger had delayed the flight at take-off time.

According to Mr Coyne, things got off to a bumpy start when an inebriated Irish passenger began chanting 'Olé Olé Olé' and 'Oggy Oggy Oggy (Oi Oi Oi)' when flight attendants were reading out safety instructions.

This caused the flight to be delayed.

Conor McGregor (left) during an open workout session ahead of his fight against Jose Aldo in Las Vegas
Conor McGregor (left) during an open workout session ahead of his fight against Jose Aldo in Las Vegas

Once airborne, the trouble continued with two men becoming embroiled in a verbal argument.

Fellow passengers urged the pair to sit down and regain composure but the men in question ignored their pleas and carried on arguing.

Things escalated quickly with one man reaching out and throwing "a few slaps at the other lad".

"These other two Irish lads start kicking off at each other," Kildare native Mr Coyne wrote on Facebook.

"[It] got very heated and one guy, despite everyone on the plane shouting at him to sit down, struck out and threw a few slaps at the other lad.

"Now, unfortunately for me and the whole packed plane, we are all gonna be affected by a few drunk fools," he added.

A video of the authorities entering the plane once the aircraft had landed has also been uploaded to Facebook.

A representative for JetBlue confirmed yesterday that the altercation had taken place.

"On December 10, a disturbance between customers occurred on JetBlue flight 611 from New York JFK to Las Vegas," a company spokesperson told the Irish Independent.

"The flight returned to JFK, where the aircraft was met by local authorities and the customers were removed. The flight then continued on to its destination."

As many as 11,000 people were expected to attend last night's weigh-in, as Las Vegas prepares for UFC 194 - with huge numbers of Irish supporters travelling to support the Irish UFC star.

Irish Independent

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