Ryanair forced to divert flight from Morocco to London Stansted after 'mass brawl' between passengers

Ryanair turned the flight around after a violent altercation broke out between passengers over seating arrangements (PA Archive)
Ryanair turned the flight around after a violent altercation broke out between passengers over seating arrangements (PA Archive)

A Ryanair flight bound for London Stansted was forced to turn around mid-journey after a violent altercation broke out among passengers over seating arrangements.

The aircraft departed on schedule from Agadir, Morocco, on Wednesday, but tensions that had been simmering since boarding escalated into a full-blown brawl just 36 minutes into the flight.

Eyewitnesses reported screaming and punches being thrown, with one passenger falling ill during the fracas.

As the situation spiralled out of control, the pilot made the decision to divert the plane to Marrakech, another Moroccan city. Upon landing, local police boarded the aircraft and removed the disruptive passengers in an operation that lasted two hours.

The remaining travellers faced further frustration as they were forced to wait until Thursday to complete their journey to Stansted.

“They were trying to punch each other,” a passenger told the Sun, explaining that a man in his late 20s asked a woman to move so he could sit with his family.

The argument over seating reignited shortly after takeoff. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, the man approached the woman again, who had earlier refused to move from her seat next to her daughter.

Witnesses said the man began making threats towards the woman. Her husband then stepped in to defend her, leading to a physical altercation.

Mobile phone footage shows passengers shouting and pushing each other in the aisle. The violent scenes prompted the crew to divert the flight.

The passenger added: “One of the families was part of a larger group so other passengers started to join in.

“Then a lady in the row behind started to have a panic attack because of everything going on. She was screaming and there were kids crying. It was like a snowball effect.”

Another traveller said: “We were only in the air for 36 minutes before we had to do an unexpected landing. It was so stressful.

“It was like the flight from hell. And it all escalated from that one passenger wanting to change seats.”

Ryanair put 200 passengers into a hotel and booked them onto a flight from Marrakech the next morning.

But this was also cancelled and they did not get to Stansted until Thursday night.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “This flight from Agadir to London Stansted diverted to Marrakesh after a small group of passengers became disruptive, and during which time another passenger became ill onboard.

"Crew called ahead for both medical and police assistance, which met the aircraft upon arrival at Marrakesh.

“The small group of disruptive passengers were then removed from the aircraft by airport gendarmerie.

“The passenger who became ill was provided with oxygen onboard before being treated by airport medics, who determined that they were not fit-to-fly.

"This passenger refused to disembark and became abusive towards crew, and was removed from the aircraft by airport gendarmerie.

“As it took almost two hours in total to treat and offload these disruptive passengers, during which time the rest of the passengers remained onboard, the crew reached their permitted flying hours, and caused the flight to be delayed overnight.

“Affected passengers were provided with overnight accommodation and transport to/from the airport. This flight departed to London the following day.

“We sincerely apologise to passengers for this diversion and subsequent delay caused by a small group of disruptive passengers, which was out of Ryanair’s control.”