Forest man calls Coronavirus hoax ‘needless and confusing’

WestJet 737-800 landing in Vancouver Intl Airport. (Photo courtesy of Ben King via Wikipedia)

A Forest man is recounting his experience aboard a Jamaica-bound WestJet flight that was forced to turn around because of a Coronavirus hoax.

The plane departed from Toronto on Sunday but had to come back because a mask-wearing Thornhill man falsely claimed he was infected.

The man, who was arrested, apparently did it for social media attention.

Steven Storr was on the flight with his wife Yvonne and said passengers took it surprisingly well. The arrested man was booed as he got escorted off the plane but there was no violence.

“Everybody took it pretty well. I was quite surprised that this gentleman just walked off the plane unscathed because there were a lot of upset people,” said Storr.

“It could have been a lot worse. There was a lot of scared people, some even had masks in their luggage. Quite a few people were wearing masks when we didn’t know what was going on. There was definitely some fear in the air and some uncertainty for sure. I don’t know where his head was at, that’s just something that you don’t do on a plane.”

Storr said it was very frustrating.

“It makes you angry. We lost a day of our vacation along with everybody else,” he said. “Some guys were only coming down here (to Jamaica) for five days and now they’re down to a four-day vacation. It definitely makes you angry. I walked by the gentleman to the washroom at the back of the plane and they quarantined him at the back of the plane. He was just laying there all smug looking. It was quite the experience.”

After being put in a hotel overnight, another flight made its way to Jamaica on Tuesday morning.

The mishap also caused headaches for passengers who were scheduled to fly back into Canada.

The Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has made its way to Canada. There are four confirmed cases nationally and another possible one in British Columbia.