On a wing and a prayer: unruly religious nutter forces an emergency landing

PRAYING loudly on an airplane is frowned upon.  But an exception to the rule was made In 2009 when a bunch of about 50 rabbis and Jewish mystics took to the skies above Israel, praying and blowing ceremonial horns or shofars in a bid to ward off swine flu.

Rabbis and mystics seeing off swine flu above Israel. Click on pic for hilarious video

Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri was quoted at the time as saying that the aim of the exercise was:

To stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it.

The flu was simply called  “H1N1” in Israel, as Jews are forbidden to eat pork.

But last night an unsanctioned outbreak of prayer on a United Airlines plane flying from Denver to Washington DC forced it to make an emergency landing at Dulles Washington International Airport in northern Virginia.

A passenger began praying in the aisle – but to which god airline officials have not divulged.

United Airlines flight 662 was preparing to land when the passenger began praying loudly and became disorderly.

The man who’d caused the disturbance with his religious outburst was removed from the plane in handcuffs by police and paramedics and taken away in a police cruiser.

It’s not known if the man has been charged with anything or if he’s being treated for any psychological problems.

In 2008, a bearded Orthodox Jewish man wearing a black hat and a long black coat was ejected from the back of a United Airlines jet shortly before take-off when he began praying and refused to return to his seat despite the insistence of flight attendants.

In that incident, the man claimed he could not stop the prayer until it was finished and attempted to return to his seat once the observance was complete.

Other weird news: A bell-ringer had to be rescued by fire crews after she became entangled in ropes at a church.

The woman, in her late 50s, was left suspended six metres (20ft) in the air at a belfry at St Nicholas’s church in Bathampton, near Bath, Somerset, according to The Guardian.

Avon fire and rescue service said the woman was:

Thrown around the belfry for a bit before landing awkwardly.

She was taken to hospital with a suspected pelvic injury following the accident on Monday night, which happened as the weekly bell-ringing group met at the church.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (both reports)


24 responses to “On a wing and a prayer: unruly religious nutter forces an emergency landing”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Hell’s Bells! But isn’t that Buster Merryfield in the front seat in the pic? “During The Six Day Wawer…”

  2. David Anderson says:

    One flu over the cuckoo’s nest.

  3. barriejohn says:

    One cuckoo flew over the Negev!

  4. Barry Duke says:

    I don’t get the one bawling down the telephone. WTF was that all about?

  5. sailor1031 says:

    More persecution of the religious, that’s wot it is!! Doesn’t UA know that the rules don’t apply to the religious?

    Barry: that was either the aircraft PA system or that rebbi was praying directly to the pilot……..bad flight either way!

  6. barriejohn says:


    There are some hilarious comments on the Mail site:

    If it had been Ryanair I could have understood the urgent need for prayer.

    Cabin staff should have shown him the door.

    If he was praying for a quick landing his prayer was answered.

    Plenty, too, questioning why the need for such public demonstrations of faith, and just why anyone would need to get down on the floor to speak to God!

  7. David Anderson says:

    Just in! The campanologist from Bathampton was ringing “Ding dong merrily on high”.

  8. barriejohn says:

    This was a Burl Ives hit from the 1960s, Barrry. I’m amazed at your ignorance!

  9. remigius says:

    Barry, I often get sick on flights. I think that rabbi has misunderstood the concept of speaking to God on the big white telephone.

  10. remigius says:

    And, thanks to barriejohn, I’ve just been sick again.

  11. barriejohn says:

    I’ll say a little prayer for you, Remigius!

  12. barriejohn says:

    Remember the bus driver who pulled over in London and started praying in the aisle? (Near Gospel Oak, amazingly!)

  13. RabbitOnAStick says:

    The video is just amazing. It is truly sad. When you want the bugger to fall out of the sky they just stay up their don’t they. I thought planes mostly kept flying due to passengers will power and praying most of the time they don’t fall out of the sky!

    what would be interesting is what the unmusical bunch of hairy clowns have got to say about their gawd and all that horn blowing (one sounded out of tune for sure – not that he was trying to play a tune just make a stupid racket) about these statistics from 2009 from the the WHO…….

    “The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).”

  14. RabbitOnAStick says:

    In Dubai there were often idiots praying all over the place by the side of the road, in the road – mainly illiterate sub-continent labourers who’d simply stop their lorry, van, car whatever and get out and pray. i never understood the logic when there were mosques all over the place.

    A very good arab friend of mine often would tell me that after prayers he had on at least ten occasions have to go buy a new pair of sandals as they would get stolen. But then it’s the religion of peace and harmony isn’t it. people don’t steal stuff at the mosque – or do they.

    i’ve been on emirates many times when some idiot would go in the toilet splash water all over the place come out then he’d get in the aisle or by the exit and pray. Annoying when you’d had too much free champagne and needed to go. They don’t like being stepped over.


  15. Trevor Blake says:

    Did you read about the atheist who was arrested aboard an airplane after he grew belligerent about Russel’s Paradox? No, I didn’t either. I also didn’t read the report staring the majority of men in prison are atheists. Or the exposé detailing an atheist grooming ring that threatened child safety, didn’t read that one.

  16. barriejohn says:

    ROAS: You’ve just answered a question for me. Allaaaaaaaaaah obviously instituted this ridiculous form of “worship” so that the poor could gain access to suitable footwear. Thanks so much: PMSL!

  17. Cliff Knoetz says:

    In 2008, a bearded Orthodox Jewish man wearing a black hat and a long black coat was ejected from the back of a United Airlines jet shortly before take-off

    James Bond style?

  18. RabbitOnAStick says:

    The irony was the arab’s sandals were very very expensive, costing in excess of £200 or more each time. And all that were left were either filthy flip flops or workers boots. (The poor chaps tended not to wear socks).
    he used to rationalise this as not so much ‘theft’ (which it clearly was) but an islamic way of sharing!
    Now that is funny.

  19. Barry Duke says:

    And while we’re all having a laugh, check out this on

    Bobby (Oh he of little face) Hutton made me howl even louder with this little piece of unashamed arse-licking:

    And his response to my comment is simply hysterical. “Sweetlips indeed ..!”

    And speaking of Green, I note he has had nothing to say about the big black eye the evangelicals received in the States.

  20. barriejohn says:

    ROAS: How did it take so long for that jerk to work out that he should wear inexpensive shoes to the mosque? I’ve got a very nice Hamilton watch that I’ve owmned for years, but I don’t wear it around town!

  21. Marky Mark says:

    Trevor Blake said:
    (I also didn’t read the report staring the majority of men in prison are atheists.)

    In **1997**, the Federal Bureau of Prisons released the professed religious adherence rate of those in the U.S. Federal Prison system.

    Christians make up about 80% of the American population AND prison population.

    However, Atheists make up about 8% of the American population but only 0.2% of the prison population.
    Atheists, are, by in large, highly educated and have moderate to high incomes.
    The countries with the most Atheists also have phenomenally low crime rates. Do you think these statistics are related?

  22. Equality Jack says:

    There are a large number of nasty similarities between Muslim fundies and Jewish fundies. Even with some Christian fundie sects.

    I think that this is because of the underlying psychological mechanisms being used in these cases, as well as the over-arching tendencies brought by their religious texts as to the details of what madness they are up to.

    But then the texts were written with basically the same things in mind, so a large number of similarities is virtually guaranteed, anyway. Greed for wealth and power, total psycho control of victims of the fraud, sex, slavery, misogynist stuff.
    …all very primitive and whatever is the easiest to brainwash the poor saps with. But here I am talking to the choir again…

  23. Matt Westwood says:

    @EJ: Note that in both the Muzzy and Joo books of Acceptable Societal Behaviour there exists a clause which instructs adherents to kill disobedient offspring. How’s that for a prime instance of directed evolution.

    Thus those who survive to adulthood are far more likely to have the “submit to authority” gene, if such exists, or at the very least have assimilated the appropriate meme.

    Thus you have a self-perpetuating societal structure which is difficult to de-entrench because it is completely rooted in tradition and parental authority. Of course the rule is rarely (if ever) used in Jewish society any more (the traditionally caricatured mother-figure is all you need to call to mind), but in Muslim societies it is still rife.

    The fact that such killing is being treated more and more as murder (in particular how the fact that “honour killing” is finally being taken seriously as a crime in Pakistan) is an indicator that maybe the foundations of this societal structure are beginning to crumble.

  24. Mark Richards says:

    “Thrown around the belfry for a bit before landing awkwardly.”

    A horror, but still not as bad as having a 300 Kg stone cross smash your leg to a pulp or, worse, having your groin groped by a fellow wearing a funny hat.