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RIM execs chewed through restraints after in-flight fracas

Drunken fighting costs duo their jobs

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Two drunken RIM executives on a flight to China fought staff and then chewed through their restraints after being subdued, forcing the pilots to divert the plane.

The two boarded a flight from Toronto to Beijing already drunk, according to documents obtained by CBC News, and proceeded to badger attendants for more booze once onboard before falling asleep. After a brief snooze they carried on drinking, before starting a loud argument between themselves.

The duo were warned that they were being rowdy and would be removed from the plane if this kind of behavior continued. The warning was ignored, with a flight attendant reporting that one of them lay down and began kicking the floor and one "assaulted a flight attendant and threatened to punch another," state prosecutors said.

Cabin crew eventually subdued them, using plastic restraints as handcuffs, and backing this up with adhesive tape. Nevertheless the two "chewed their way through their restraints," and began to kick up a stink again. They were subdued by a collection of cabin staff and passengers and the entire plane was placed in lockdown, with no-one allowed to leave their seats.

The pilots decided to divert the plane to Anchorage, but as the situation progressed the decision was made to stop at Vancouver, because it was closer. George Campbell, 45, and Paul Alexander Wilson, 38, were removed by security staff and passengers were put up in hotels overnight before taking another flight in the morning.

The behavior of the two men was "way over the top," the Canadian prosecutor said. “The repercussions for the company as well as every single person on the plane, both financially and perhaps even emotionally, are going to be huge.”

Campbell and Wilson pleaded guilty to the delightfully-named charge of mischief and were ordered to pay $71,757 in restitution – although Air Canada estimated the fracas cost it over $200,000. They also got a year’s suspended sentence and probation, and have been fired from their jobs with RIM following an investigation.

"RIM expects that its employees conduct themselves in a manner reflective of our strong principles and standards of business behavior," the company told CBC in a statement. "RIM does not condone behavior that conflicts with applicable laws and employees are expected to act, at all times, with integrity and respect. The individuals involved in this incident are no longer employed by RIM." ®

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