London (HAN) April 7. 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. A man from London was escorted off a Gatwick bound easyJet flight by armed police after another passenger told crew he did not feel safe travelling with him.
Mehary Yemane-Tesfagiorgis, who is of Eritrean heritage, was coming home from a trip to Rome when the captain informed him he would have to leave the aircraft.
The 34-year-old, who lives in North London, spent more than 15 hours at the airport being questioned by the authorities, before being told he had been cleared to travel.
Describing what happened the DJ said the flight had been preparing to take off when there was an unexplained delay.
Mr Yemane-Tesfagiorgis told ITV News London: “After 20 minutes the captain explained a technical fault with luggage and informed us that the flight will commence shortly.
“After a few minutes, cabin crew emerged and asked ‘Is there a passenger with the last name of Yemane-Tesfagiorgis on board?’
“I replied ‘Yes’, assuming that it was my luggage that was the issue.
“I was then asked to come to the front of the cabin where I was greeted by armed police. I was asked to leave the plane by the captain, when asked why? He explained: ‘A fellow passenger has stated that she does not feel safe with you on board.’ ”
Mr Yemane-Tesfagiorgis said he was questioned by the airline staff before being taken to the airport police station.
He explained: “I was subjected to further questioning and intimidation by the Italian authorities before being left to sit in the airport for a further 15 or so hours.”
A spokesman for the budget airline said: “easyJet can confirm that flight EZY5258 from Rome Fiumicino to London Gatwick on 29 March 2016 was delayed due to the police requesting that additional security checks were undertaken before departure.
“Mr Yemane-Tesfagiorgis was questioned by the authorities as a result of another passenger reporting concerns about his behaviour.
“The safety and security of its passengers and crew is our highest priority and airlines have to take any security-related concerns seriously.
“easyJet rebooked Mr Yemane-Tesfagiorgis on the next flight from Rome to Gatwick after the authorities confirmed they were satisfied he could travel.”
Mr Yemane-Tesfagiorgis said he is now seeking legal advice.