Thursday, December 20, 2007

Commotion At The Airport

I was waiting for my evening flight to Cebu when there was a commotion at the domestic airport’s pre-departure area. It was not a bomb scare. But it felt like one for a mother who was milking her infant when a mentally ill person suddenly grabbed the bottled milk of her baby and sucked it for himself. She immediately ran way leaving her belongings.

Another waiting lady passenger jumped right away from her seat when the man suddenly faced her. She ran to the passenger assistance counter, and pointing her fingers at the insane man.

He never appeared violent. In fact, he looked so calm enjoying his milk. He stood up every now and then, and an old lady, who seemed to be her mother, kept holding him. Airline and airport security personnel surrounded the hapless man who was carrying 4 or 5 bags, two of which were not his. (He must be a porter since he carried them with ease.) He moved back and forth trying to evade everyone, including his mother. He never looked anyone in the eye, but rather on the floor. Maybe the airline delay agitated him, as he also kept on looking outside the glass window towards the parked plane.

I was only a few feet away so I just took the liberty of taking a picture. But it dawned on me: What are the rights of mentally ill person? Are they allowed to ride airplanes which may put every one else at risk? What if he was on the plane with us when his illness struck?

If I remembered it right, there was a hi-jacking incident a few years ago of a domestic airline. The culprit was a mentally troubled man. A steward was brave enough to face him. The man asked for a parachute. Then he jumped from the plane as if he knew anything about skydiving. The passengers were relieved. The steward was hailed as hero. The parachute didn’t work though.


aryo said...

It is the carriers' responsibility to ensure their passengers' safety. But while we expect them to exercise diligence, it would be quite difficult for them to pre-determine the possible risks that one passenger may pose if there are no physical manifestations. The least that can be done is for everyone to be cautious and observant, and report any suspicious act or activity.

Lazarus said...

if it happened inside the plane, it would be very difficult na to control.

pero kawawa lan talaga mama nya.

cat with the fiddle said...

for real? i mean about the parachute?

Lazarus said...

thanks for the visit, Cat. Yep, it was in the news a decade ago. He held hostage all the plane passengers. His body was found buried in mud in some fields in south luzon.