Coronavirus joke causes WestJet flight to return to Toronto

Toronto, Canada - A WestJet passenger who wanted his post to go viral on instagram, caused the plane to divert for an emergency landing. The passenger said he had coronavirus.

The WestJet Flight WS 2702 was on its way from Toronto to Jamaika when a 28-year-old man shouted that he had coronavirus. The passenger whose name is James Potok (Potok Philippe on Instagram) stood up and made an announcement to other passenger:

Can I get everybody's attention, please? I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus. I'm not feeling too well. Thank you.

Then he sat back again.

Although he later said that it was a joke to go viral on Instagram, the aircraft returned and landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport after a two hours of flight. The cabin crew gave him gloves and a face mask and later escorted him off the plane. After it was revealed that James Potok was not infected by coronovirus, police arrested and charged him with threatening flight safety and other passengers.

The social media influencer and musician, who has over 34,000 followers on Instagram apologized all afterwards.

I'm very, very sorry for my ignorance and not understanding that it's an epidemic, that people hear the word and its become synonymous with threats,

he said.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best thing to do,

he added.