Here's a new way to gain instant publicity: shout out that you have been to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, while you're on a plane in midair.
An Instagrammer who goes by the name of Potok Philippe, who's real name is James Potok, did exactly that on WestJet flight WS 2702 from Toronto, Canada, bound for Jamaica. The flight had to turn around after two hours and land back in Toronto.
The other 243 passengers on board were less than pleased, to say the least.
The 28-year-old man in question stood up on the plane and shouted out "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." Then proceeded to sit back down again.
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
Aside from the glaringly obvious fact that Potok Philippe needs to pick up literally any newspaper because the coronavirus' "capital" is in Hubei province — not Hunan —, the Instagrammer managed to create havoc amid the other unsuspecting passengers.
[News] Plane Forced To Turn Back After Instagram Star Yells He Is Infected With Coronavirus - https://t.co/15UnwZpZe4— Whatsvibe (@whatsvibe_live) February 5, 2020
Potok Philippe Raises False Alarm For Coronavirus Image Metro UK
Potok Philippe, real name James Potok, was arrested and charged with mischief on Monday afte...
He later said "it was just a joke," and admitted that he had wanted to create a viral video (hence the camera in his hand during his airborne speech).
The coronavirus is no joke, however, as it has already caused more than 400 fatalities and infected over 20,000 worldwide.
Not taking the matter lightly, airline staff gave him gloves and a face mask and later escorted him off the plane where local authorities arrested and charged him with mischief once the plane was back on Canadian ground.
The aspiring social media influencer and musician, who has over 34,000 Instagram followers, did end up seeing his foolishness, as he stated "I'm very, very sorry for my ignorance and not understanding that it's an epidemic, that people hear the word and its become synonymous with threats."
"In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best thing to do," he added.
To try and not recreate such an unnecessary debacle, stay up to date by reading the latest updates on the coronavirus here.