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2014-07-27 at 11:53

Man charged in alleged security threat on Sunwing flight attends local post-secondary institution

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By tbnewswatch.com

A 25-year-old man charged after allegations of a security incident on a Friday flight from Toronto to Panama City has ties to Thunder Bay.

According to his Facebook page, Ali Shahi is a student at Lakehead University and he is a member of both the Lakehead Iranian Student Association and Lakehead University Book Swap, Buy and Sell groups on the social networking site.

Shahi also on Facebook lists Thunder Bay as his current place of residence and has multiple posts referencing the city.

His father, Sadegh Shahi, through national media outlets apologized for his son’s actions and said Shahi is suffering from mental health issues.

Shahi appeared in a Brampton court on Saturday, where he was released on $1,000 bail.

Sunwing Airlines says its plane turned around about 45 minutes into the flight Friday morning after a passenger allegedly made a "direct threat" to the aircraft.

Two fighter jets from NORAD were dispatched to escort the flight, carrying 183 passengers and a crew of six, back to Toronto's Pearson airport.

Cellphone video footage from passengers on board that was broadcast on several television networks showed heavily armed SWAT team officers storming aboard the plane to arrest the passenger.

After several hours' delay, the Sunwing flight took off again for Panama.

Shahi is charged with uttering threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft.

With files from The Canadian Press

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