Rumor: Belligerent Canadian family arrested for smoking mid-flight

Plane traveling from Canada to Dominican Republic made emergency landing in Bermuda

CONFIRMED: Family arrested upon landing, but smoking charges dropped

One of the family members arrested, David McNeil Jr., 22, denied the charge of smoking, and without any evidence to support it, the charge was dropped, Time magazine, National Post of Canada and other news outlets reported. David McNeil Sr., 54, pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner by using abusive and offensive language, while Donna McNeil, 52, pleaded guilty to disobeying a lawful order by a flight attendant.

McNeil Sr. and Donna McNeil were fined $500 apiece, and ordered to pay immediately or face up to 10 days in prison.

Among the arguments made by prosecutors on Monday was a crew member reportedly witnessing David McNeil Jr. leaving the plane's washroom smelling strongly of cigarette smoke, the National Post said.

One woman relayed the story via text message to her husband, the CBC reported. According to Dave Shellington's wife, there was a lot of screaming and swearing during the ordeal.

Potential lawsuit

Because the plane was diverted under Canadian transport regulations, Sunwing Air was forced to put up the 180 passengers for the night and bring in a mechanic. Sunwing Travel Group is considering suing the McNeil family for the estimated $40,000 expense for the diversion, the Montreal Gazette and other outlets said.

"I cannot believe that passengers did this. I'll bet you it's been 20 years since smoking was allowed on an aircraft," Daryl McWilliams, vice president of media relations with the airline, told the Huffington Post.

Smoking was banned on domestic flights in Canada in 1989, and then extended to international flights of six hours or less in 1990, CTV News reported.

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