Aspiring social media star Potok Philippe (real name James Potok) hoped to get a viral video. Instead, he caused an emergency landing and got arrested. What did he do? He played a prank on the more than 240 passengers on board by announcing that he had coronavirus, two hours since departure.
The Instagrammer was on board the WestJet flight WS2702 bound for Montego Bay, Jamaica from Toronto, Canada when he stood up in the middle of the flight to shout: “Can I get everybody’s attention, please? I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus. I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.” He then sat back down after his announcement.
It must be noted that Potok mistakenly said “Hunan” instead of “Wuhan,” where the coronavirus was first reported.
This caused much alarm to the unsuspecting passengers and crew who were forced to head back to the Pearson International Airport where Potok was examined for symptoms and then promptly arrested and charged.
WestJet flight to Jamaica was turned around halfway there when a 29 year old man announced that he had the Corona Virus … It appears to be a prank …250 passengers were standed in Toronto as well as others in Montego Bay , Jamaica pic.twitter.com/obscZav4FJ
— Gerald Frank (@drgeraldfg) February 4, 2020
“I had my camera with me — I was looking to get a viral video,” he told Global News. “I was looking to get it up on all the social media platforms. I figured it would invoke some kind of reaction — not on the plane, more people seeing on social media going, ‘Wow, this kid’s got some balls,’ or, ‘This kid is crazy,’ whatever it is.”
He did, however, admit to feeling remorse over what he did. “It seems to me like this was in poor taste, in retrospect. What I did was wrong. I ruined the flight for 200 and somewhat people. I ruined their flight.”
He also shared that he has done a similar prank before by suddenly announcing something on a plane. But with the rising death toll of the NCoV, it’s clear why no one was amused by the spectacle.
(ALSO READ: NCoV Death Toll Surpasses SARS Death Toll)
Potok has since released an apology video on his YouTube page.
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