Indonesian flight grounded over the smell of durian fruit

Stinky fruit causes plane protest

Stinky fruit causes plane protest

A reporter with Indonesia's Antara news agency, Boyke Ledy Watra, who was also on the plane told the Jakarta Post that "several passengers argued, occasionally nearly coming to blows, with flight crew members before deciding to leave the aircraft".

Travelers aboard a Sriwajiya Air flight from Bengkulu, in Indonesia, to Jakarta complained of the odor prior to takeoff, insisting that the airline remove the spiky, smelly fruit - of which there was almost 4,500 pounds in the cargo hold - from the flight, per The Straits Times.

Pasenger Amir Zidane wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that he and his friends were among the last to board the flight to Jakarta at Fatmawati Soekarno Bengkulu Airport in Bengkulu, Indonesia, and "the scent of duress was already felt".

Passengers demanded that the fruit be removed, with some nearly coming to blows with crew members.

Reportedly, passengers referred to a 2005 Mandala Airlines plane crash in Medan, where 149 people were killed - and a 2.7 tonne load of durian was initially thought to be the cause of the accident.

The flight took off an hour later than scheduled to Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

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Sriwijaya attempted to rationalize the airline's decision to take on two tons of the cargo by pointing out no laws were broken.

Crew members assured him the smell would vanish as soon as the plane was in the air.

"It's normal for every airline to carry durian during a flight as long as it is packaged properly and put inside the cargo hold in accordance with the standards and procedures", Kyodo News quoted Maya as saying in a statement.

Considered the "king of fruits" in many South-east Asian countries, the distinctive odour of durian is very divisive - food writer Richard Sterling once described it as "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock". "I yelled at the other passengers 'Who on this plane wants to fly?'" he said.

The airline eventually gave in and unloaded the fragrant cargo.

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