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09 November 2018, 03:06 | Joann Bryant
Stinky durian fruit grounds Indonesian passenger plane
In some Asian countries, Durians are banned from public transport and hotels due to their pungent smell.
However the airline agreed to remove the fruit, and passengers disembarked while it was offloaded.
A Sriwijaya Air flight departing from Bengkulu, Sumatra, and bound for the capital Jakarta was delayed for a whole hour after passengers refused to take off if the rank fruit had to travel with them in the passenger cabin. The airline eventually agreed to offload the sacks of durian fruit from the cargo hold and the flight departed an hour later than schedule.
Passengers refused to board the plane and complained to staff about the fruit's strong smell.
Footage of the incident, uploaded to Facebook by a passenger named Amir Zidane, shows travellers milling around on the tarmac as aircrew unload the offending cargo, whose smell has been likened to rotten onions, turpentine and dirty gym socks.
A reporter with the Indonesian media group Antara, who happened to be on the plane, said passengers became agitated upon encountering the scent of durian wafting through cabin before takeoff.
"I complained to the stewardess but they told me to just fill in a complaint form".
Crew members assured him the smell would vanish as soon as the plane was in the air.
"He said he finally turned to his fellow passengers asked: "(Who) on the plane wants to fly?" They all chanted back, "not us!'".
"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.
Responding to the incident, Pramintohadi Sukarno, acting director general for air transportation, said that "carrying durian, terasi (fermented shrimp paste), dried, salted fish and other stinky goods in a plane is not forbidden because they are not categorized as risky goods".
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