Indonesian plane grounded after passengers complain about stinky durian

Durian fruit

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At one point, things got so heated that a brawl nearly ensued, according to Boyke Ledy Watra, a journalist with Indonesian news agency Antara who was among those on board.

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.

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.

The flight, which was scheduled to take off at 10.40am was subsequently delayed by an hour while the fruit was removed. In some Asian countries, Durians are banned from public transport and hotels due to their pungent smell.

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.

'Three tonnes of durian offloaded from a Sriwijaya Air jet after pax complained of the smell.

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Some passengers were so angry there was nearly an altercation with crew, the BBC reported.

The flight attendants assured him the smell would dissipate once the plane was airborne.

Some passengers even argued that apart from the unpleasant smell, they were also concerned by the extra weight on board. "Many airlines do this", Sriwijaya Air senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya said in a statement to the Post on Tuesday.

"He said he finally turned to his fellow passengers asked: "(Who) on the plane wants to fly?"

Sriwajiya Air later said the airline was well within its rights to carry the stinky fruit in cargo.

The airline eventually gave in and unloaded the fragrant cargo.

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