Man jailed after causing coronavirus “pandemonium” on flight to Dublin

A man has been jailed for causing “pandemonium” on board a flight to Dublin by announcing that his mother, with whom he’d been in contact with, had coronavirus.

Job Van Der Broek, a 30-year-old trainee driving instructor from Veghel in the Netherlands, was handed a two-month prison sentence.

Detective Gary Dillane said they were made aware of an incident on board Aer Lingus flight EI065 from Amsterdam to Dublin yesterday afternoon.

While cabin crew were doing their safety demo before take-off, the court heard Job Van der Broek refused to get off his phone.

Midflight, he then told a crew member that he’d been talking to his mother, who had coronavirus.

The passenger directly behind him overheard, and also heard him tell her that he’d been in contact with his mother recently.

Detective Dillane said this caused “pandemonium”. Crew members burst into tears and passengers moved away from him. He said it turned into a hostile situation.

Passengers were forced to wait on the tarmac for hours after landing. Everyone was tested, and the plane was declared safe before they were allowed to disembark.

Judge Conal Gibbons described his behaviour as “unbelievable” given the climate of fear and anxiety people are living in. He said the only worse thing you could say on a plane these days is that there’s a bomb under the seat.

His solicitor Michael French pleaded for leniency, but the judge felt the offence had to be marked with a custodial sentence and jailed him for two months.

Elsewhere

Dublin nightclub Copper Face Jacks says it’s going to shut down until the 29th of March.

It’s to avoid a gathering of 100 people or more indoors in line with public health advice during the covid-19 outbreak.

In a post on social media, its management say it’s “in the best interest of our valued customers and staff”.