The drunken antics of two Research in Motion (RIM) executives forced an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing to divert to Vancouver on Nov. 29.
Paul Wilson, 38, and George Campbell, 35, both Canadian citizens, became unruly after drinking too much while on board. As a result, they had to be restrained with plastic handcuffs by crew and passengers.
The two have since been fired by RIM for unprofessional behavior and ordered to pay a fine of almost $72,000 after pleading guilty on mischief charge.
They also received suspended sentences and probation for a year.
RIM released a statement saying, “RIM expects that its employees conduct themselves in a manner reflective of our strong principles and standards of business behaviour.
"RIM does not condone behaviour that conflicts with applicable laws and employees are expected to act, at all times, with integrity and respect. The individuals involved in this incident are no longer employed by RIM.”
“This wasn’t just being drunk, sort of a happy drunk coming back from Mexico with a couple too many beer. This was way over the top.” – Crown Counsel Gerri-Lyn Nelson
Executives’ drunken rampage
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news write up, quoting witnesses and court documents, details the executives’ drunken rampage.
Apparently, the pair started drinking at the airport bar and were reportedly intoxicated before boarding the aircraft.
On board, they pestered the attendants for more liquor and fell asleep. After a brief nap, they continued their bout of drinking and started yelling at one another.
Campbell, described as “rowdy and abusive,” threatened fellow passengers and also lay down on the aisle repeatedly kicking the floor.
All instructions and warnings by the cabin crew were ignored. One of the men assaulted a flight attendant and threatened to punch another crew member.
The staff and passengers managed to confine the duo to their seats with plastic handcuffs. However, both the executives gnawed through the restraints and continued their unruly behavior.
Crown Counsel Gerri-Lyn Nelson said, “This wasn’t just being drunk, sort of a happy drunk coming back from Mexico with a couple too many beer. This was way over the top.”
For security reasons, the pilots decided to divert the flight to Anchorage, but as the situation spiraled out of control, they changed course and headed for the Vancouver airport, which was closer.
The last 80 minutes of the flight, the entire plane was placed in lock-down, with no-one allowed to leave their seats.
Once the plane had landed, the pair was arrested, the other passengers were put up in hotels overnight and the flight resumed the next day to Beijing, 18 hours behind schedule.