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Unruly Passenger Prompts Fighter Jet Escort

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By Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse

A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam was met by a pair of F-16 fighter jets over the weekend after an American passenger caused a scuffle to break out midflight.

"A 29-year-old American man became aggressive after being asked by a purser to return to his seat," gendarmerie spokeswoman Joanna Helmonds told the AFP news agency. "A scuffle broke out and the cabin crew, together with other passengers managed to restrain the man."

The incident occurred over Germany about 30 minutes before the flight was scheduled to land at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport Saturday, prompting the Dutch air force to scramble two fighter jets to escort the plane.

The Airbus A330-200 was given special clearance to land immediately and was met by police who ultimately took the man into custody.

Helmonds said several passengers were injured, including two who suffered black eyes.

Upon evaluation by authorities, the man appeared disoriented and was admitted to a psychiatric institution for observation.

A spokeswoman for KLM told AFP the airline "regretted the unpleasant incident." However, she confirmed that the cabin crew followed the proper protocol. "Passengers and crew have laid a complaint against the man," the spokeswoman added.

The incident comes just days after a 23-year-old man was arrested after chasing a taxiing Ryanair flight at Dublin Airport. That flight was also bound for Amsterdam.

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