Passengers aboard an SAA flight were allegedly robbed in mid-air of cash and jewellery as they slept on a flight between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.
Cabin crew were told by some passengers during the flight on Monday that their valuables – stowed in the overhead compartments – had gone missing.
The missing items‚ however‚ mysteriously turned up on some of the cabin seats after police in Hong Kong boarded the aircraft when it landed and searched some passengers who had behaved suspiciously.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that an incident happened on flight SA 286 on Monday. While still en route to Hong Kong‚ "two passengers approached our crew complaining that they had lost their valuables (money and a watch)‚" said Tlali.
"One of the complainants was able to point out a few passengers who had behaved in a suspicious manner in the cabin and who were seen opening some overhead compartments while other passengers were sleeping."
The crew alerted the authorities in Hong Kong and police boarded the aircraft when it landed.
"The rest of the passengers disembarked and suspects identified were ordered to remain in the aircraft and were searched by the police in Hong Kong‚" said Tlali.
"Nothing was found [on] them during the search‚" he said‚ adding that the suspects had to be released.
"The items complained of were however recovered by the cleaning staff as they cleaned the aircraft ... and were found on … the seats in the same cabin. The [items] was returned to the complainants‚" said Tlali.
He said that SAA would not hesitate to impose a ban on any passengers who were reported to have breached its conditions of carriage as they formed part of the rights and responsibilities between the airline and its customers.