- Passengers were terrified on the two-hour flight by the handcuffed man
- The Home Office is using budget airlines to deport illegal immigrants
- Lucy O'Sullivan, who was on the flight, said travellers did not know if they would get off the flight safely
- The screaming man was being deported to Venice
Holidaymakers were forced to endure a terrifying two-hour flight alongside a migrant who repeatedly screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘death is coming’ – as it emerged the Home Office is using budget airlines to deport illegal immigrants.
Children were reduced to tears and travellers feared a terror attack until it became clear that the handcuffed man was being guarded by Home Office officials.
But there was no official explanation from the captain or crew as he kicked, thrashed about and threatened passengers and crew in an expletive-strewn tirade.
Click below to listen to the audio
It has emerged that budget airlines are being used by officials to deport illegal immigrants from Britain
In an extraordinary 11-minute audio recording made by a passenger sitting just yards away and obtained by The Mail on Sunday, the man screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ 29 times, ‘death is coming’ 17 times, and ‘we will die’ 9 times.
The unidentified migrant, who was being deported to Venice, kept up the ‘crude and threatening’ behaviour for nearly the entire length of the budget flight, according to those on board.
The presence of the disturbed man on easyJet flight EZY5263 from Gatwick to Venice on August 23 turned what should have been a routine trip into a nightmare.
Ironically, rather than calming worried passengers, easyJet cabin crew ordered passengers to delete videos and pictures of the man they had taken on mobile phones.
Passengers were left terrified by the threats made by the handcuffed man on the plane
In a bid to control the deportee, one Home Office official crouched on his knees facing the man, with an arm on his shoulders, for much of the flight.
The man is thought to be a failed asylum seeker who had spent a year in a UK detention centre.
He was being deported to Italy under the Dublin Regulation, which dictates that people must claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.
It is the first time a deportee has been reported to have disrupted a budget commercial flight to Europe.
The Home Office spends about £30 million a year on returning illegal immigrants and foreign criminals to their home countries.
It charters private jets and pays for individual seats on commercial flights.
Last night, a couple who were travelling on the flight on the way to their honeymoon destination revealed how they feared for their lives.
Lucy and Terence O’Sullivan, from Detling, Kent, were sitting only five rows in front of the man, who was positioned at the back of the plane, with officials either side of him
Mrs O’Sullivan, 33, a carer, said: ‘It was really scary. I felt threatened. I was tearful. The worst-case scenario was that we weren’t going to get off that plane alive because we didn’t know who the person was, what the circumstances were or anything.
There was nothing explained to us. It was very daunting.
‘When we got on board, the seats were moving so he was obviously kicking or thrashing out. I thought someone was having a fit.
‘But when we got up close we could see people were restraining him.’
As events unfolded without any official explanation, Mrs O’Sullivan even feared they could be victims of a terror attack.
‘We didn’t know whether he came from a group of terrorists, or anything along those lines,’ she said.
‘We didn’t know if there would be people on the plane who knew he was going to be deported that were on his side and whether they were going to mount a terrorist attack to free this person.’
She said she thought to herself: ‘We’ve just got married – is this the last time we’re going to be together?’
Mr O’Sullivan, 34, a site auditor, added: ‘It was pretty terrifying. I was thinking he’s somehow got explosives on to the plane and he doesn’t want to go through with it. I absolutely feared for my life.’ It was only later during the flight that fellow passengers explained the situation to the couple.
The migrant, believed to be of African origin, shouted and screamed constantly for the first half an hour of the flight and then sporadically thereafter.
Passengers were not allowed to use the lavatory towards the rear of the plane where the deportee was seated in the back row.
Italian police boarded the flight when it landed in Venice before anyone was allowed off and took the migrant away.
After complaining about the incident, easyJet told the couple, who had paid £348.68 for their return flights, that they were not eligible for a refund.
Another passenger on the flight, who was with his wife, their two children, and his brother and sister-in-law and their three children, said his family had to endure the man’s ‘crude and threatening’ language.
Last night easyJet apologised for the ‘distressing’ incident and announced it was reviewing the circumstances with the Home Office.
The company said: ‘We acknowledge that on this occasion the situation onboard could have been distressing for other passengers and apologise for that.
‘However, the safety of the flight was never compromised.
‘We would not have carried the passenger had he displayed threatening behaviour prior to the flight, the captain would have diverted if any threat was made to the safety of the flight or passengers on board, and he was in the care of two officers escorting him on behalf of the Home Office for the duration of the flight.
‘We are reviewing this case with the Home Office to see if lessons can be learned.
‘EasyJet only received three complaints from customers on board this flight.’
Last night Home Office officials refused to reveal details on the individual who was being deported.
A spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on individual cases.’