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Jul 31, 2003

Deported Cuban causes turmoil during flight

They were given a one-way ride back to Havana on Thursday, but a group of Cubans who entered Belize illegally did not go without putting up a fight…even in the air. Reports to News 5 are that one of the deportees somehow managed to loosen his handcuffs and caused quite a commotion on the plane, as he tried to kick open one of the windows in mid-flight. The situation, as we understand it, was brought under control only when the co-pilot left his seat at the controls and helped to subdue the unruly passenger. Management of Maya Island Air, the company from which the Ministry of Home Affairs chartered the two Cessna planes to facilitate the expulsion, refused to comment on the incident, saying it was a government operation and they should be the ones to talk. This afternoon, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Alan Usher, confirmed that there was what he called a “minor scuffle” on the plane, which he said was dealt with effectively by onboard security personnel. A Belize police officer that accompanied the Cubans was reportedly bitten on his hand as he attempted to intervene after the deportee had freed himself. The remainder of the flight went without incident, and after dropping off the passengers in Havana, the two planes returned to Belize around seven o’clock last night.

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