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Gazette Premium Content NORAD sends fighter jets to escort flight after passengers' 'disruptive behaviour'

By Robert S. Johnson Updated: August 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

A Sunwing Airlines flight to Cuba was escorted into Toronto by two Canadian fighter jets on Wednesday evening, NORAD said.

Sunwing Flight 656 was about midway through its flight from Toronto to Cuba when the pilot of the 737 aircraft was alerted to a fight between passengers and alerted NORAD. The jet was over South Carolina at the time, said Maj. Julie Roberge, public affairs officer of U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base.

"There was a disturbance on board and the pilot decided to turn the flight back around to Toronto," Roberge said. "The matter was turned over to local authorities when they landed."

Two CF-18s based out of Bagotville, Quebec, escorted the flight back to Toronto's Pearson Airport, where the flight landed at 8:33 p.m.local time, Roberge said. Airport police arrested two women for "disruptive behaviour," according to the Peel Regional Police Twitter account.

Roberge said that the use of fighter jets to escort commercial aircraft is common for NORAD, which also escorted a Sunwing flight from Toledo, Ohio,to Toronto on July 25.

"This is normal procedure for NORAD," Roberge said.

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