Wow: GOL Passenger Detained After Setting Fire To Papers Mid Flight

A male passenger was detained onboard a GOL Linhas Aereas flight after he locked himself in the bathroom and set fire to papers. The flight landed safely, and there were no injuries during this latest incident with a disruptive passenger. Let’s investigate further.

GOL Boeing 737 MAX
A male passenger tried to set fire onboard a GOL flight in Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

When did this happen?

GOL’s flight G3-1471 departed yesterday from Confins International Airport in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It was scheduled to land in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International.

GOL used a Boeing 737 MAX 8, registration PR-XME, to operate this flight, according to reporting by Aeroin and G1.

The flight was going smoothly when, suddenly, a man locked himself in the bathroom. He then started a fire using papers. The cabin crew and a passenger broke into the toilet and detained the man.

Following the incident, the pilots landed safely at Guarulhos International Airport. The Brazilian Federal Police took custody of the disruptive passenger, although they didn’t reveal why he set fire to the papers. Firefighters and doctors also arrived at the aircraft, although they weren’t needed. GOL Linhas Aereas published a statement regarding the incident,

“Our crew, trained in non-violent containment techniques, detained the man with the voluntary assistance of a passenger. The airports’ Federal Police and Medical Post arrived at the scene at the request of the flight’s captain. They acted quickly after landing, and there were no disruptions at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo.”

The airport authorities confirmed this statement, saying there were no delays due to the incident.

Wow: GOL Passenger Detained After Setting Fire To Papers Mid Flight
Airlines train their cabin crews to protect the aircraft against onboard fires. Here, we see students from the Tianjiao Special Guard/Security Consultant bodyguard training camp, taking part in a special course on flight safety inside a scale model of a passenger jet at a flight attendant training center in Beijing, China, in 2014. Photo: Getty Images

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Cabin crew training

The most important role of cabin crews is to ensure the safety of everyone onboard. They’re trained for many situations, including handling unruly passengers and fire onboard.

Although it is unclear how big the fire got in this GOL flight, cabin crew members have strict rules to follow when this type of incident occurs.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that fires allowed to spread into the aircraft’s overhead area may become uncontrollable in as few as eight minutes.

While cabin crew members fight the fire, pilots must notify ATC and land as soon as possible. In GOL’s flight, they were nearing Sao Paulo, so there wasn’t a need to divert into another airport.

There has been an increase in unruly passengers worldwide. In the US, the FAA is taking a stand against them, led by its Administrator, Steve Dickson. Photo: Getty Images

The rise of unruly passengers

It is uncommon for a passenger to start a fire onboard an aircraft. For instance, a similar incident happened in 2015 during a Shenzhen Airlines flight between Taizhou and Guangzhou.

Nevertheless, unruly passengers are becoming an unfortunate trend in 2021. This week alone, there was a video of a woman punching a Southwest cabin crew member.

Last week, the FAA has proposed nearly US$65,000 in fines against five passengers. But, the Administration is going even further, proposing penalties of up to US$52,500 after some passenger’s misconducts.

In the US, airlines have notified approximately 1,300 cases of unruly passengers since February. Most of these cases relate to passengers refusing to wear a face mask correctly. Nevertheless, the FAA is worried about the spike. Steve Dickson, FAA’s administrator, recently released a statement. He said that they “will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time.”

What do you think about GOL’s recent incident? Let us know in the comments.