Drunken man caused €10,000 plane diversion on way to reunite with mother

Drunken man caused €10,000 plane diversion on way to reunite with mother
Shannon Airport

A 55-year-old waiter whose drunken behaviour lead to the diversion of a flight to Shannon Airport has walked free from court.

Som Chanh who is from Cambodia, was before Ennis District Court for being intoxicated on a flight, and engaging in threatening and offensive behaviour contrary to the Air Navigation and Transport Act.

Before Monday, 55-year-old Som Chanh had only flown once before in his life - in 1977 when he came to France as a refugee escaping the horrors of political conflict in Cambodia.

His memories of his home country still cause him nightmares and flashbacks.

Judge Patrick Durkan was told the Paris-based waiter drank a naggin of whiskey before the flight during which he threatened to open the door of the plane and grabbed a member of cabin crew by the arm.

He noted the 55-year-old single man had been on the trip of a lifetime, to be reunited with the mother he had lost contact with in the 1970s.

He purchased his airline ticket out of €945 he won on a Euromillions draw.

While Judge Durkan described Mr Chanh's behaviour as very serious, and heard it cost the airline more than €10,000, he questioned how he was allowed to board a flight in a drunken state, and said the court must sympathise with the defendent's trauma.

Applying the probation act, he wished Som Chanh luck and happiness with his family, warning him to exercise caution on aircrafts in future.


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