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Man charged after false coronavirus claim forces plane to return to Pearson Airport

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Man charged after false coronavirus claim forces plane to return to Pearson Airport

A man is facing charges after allegedly lying about having coronavirus on a plane that was departing from Pearson Airport in Mississauga.

Peel police Const. Sarah Patten told insauga.com that a call regarding the incident came in around 1:00 pm on Monday, Feb. 3. 

Patten said that a man stood up on a flight bound for Montego Bay, Jamaica and announced that he had been in China and was suffering from coronavirus.

Upon hearing the man’s claims, the captain decided to return to Toronto. The plane landed at Pearson around 2:00 pm. 

Police say subsequent examination revealed that the 29-year-old Thornhill man does not have the virus. 

He was taken into custody and charged with mischief. 

Police say the accused will appear in court on March 9. 

UPDATE: Police have provided updated information that reveals that James Potok, a 28-year-old man from Vaughan was charged with mischief and breach of recognizance in connection with the incident.

Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to call investigators at the Airport Division Criminal Investigation Bureau at 905-453-2121 ext.3133. 

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