Woman says she warned airline about masked man
A passenger on the Air Canada flight in which a young Asian man disguised as an elderly man said she tried to warn the air crew multiple times before the flight took off.
Nuray Kurtur-Balas told CNN she noticed right away something was unusual about the man's appearance before the plane took off in Hong Kong but was dismissed by flight attendants three times about her concerns.
She said the man's hands looked much younger than his face and she was concerned he was going to blow up the plane. She kept her iPhone by her side to call her family if something happened.
"I thought he was going to harm the plane," the 35-year-old told CNN.
The retail manager said she told the flight attendant the man's hands "looked plastic."
"I said to the flight attendant, 'Did you check out that person's hands? They seem like they belong to a 20-year-old kid. There are no wrinkles.' She said 'good observation.'"
After not getting a response, she told a second attendant. That person said they'd look into it.
A third flight attendant said the man hadn't done anything wrong and told her that he may have a medical condition.
Officials have confirmed the young man boarded the plane on Oct. 29 wearing a silicone mask covering his face and shoulders and removed the elaborate disguise in the bathroom sometime during the flight. He applied for refugee status after arriving in Vancouver and is in the process of an immigration hearing to determine his eligibility.
Air Canada said it has launched an investigation into the incident.
"The facts relating to this passenger's acceptance on board the aircraft are still being investigated," the airline said in a statement, adding it is liaising with Hong Kong staff and an independent contractor that verifies passports at its gates in the city's airport.
With files from The Canadian Press