He might have still had a shot at flying to his destination, but he blew that too.

In Japan, people have been wearing masks in public to cope with common colds and hay fever for decades, and so the idea of wearing one to prevent the spread of coronavirus hasn’t really been met with all that much resistance. Case in point: on Saturday, almost every passenger onboard a Hokkaido Air System plane that was getting ready to take off from Okushiri Airport, in Hokkaido Prefecture, was wearing a mask.

But “almost every” is really just another way of saying “not every,” and while 21 of the 22 passengers had no problems fastening their seat belts, returning their seats to their upright positions, and wearing a mask prior to takeoff, one male passenger had no mask on. Cabin attendants approached him and asked him to please put on a mask to help reduce the chance of infection for everyone onboard, but the man refused. The crew says they asked the man multiple times why he was not willing to wear a mask, but he refused to give them any sort of explanation.

So how did the standoff end? With the man being removed from the plane and left behind as it took off without him.

The incident caused the flight to be delayed by 30 minutes, and while it was bound for Hakodate, also in Hokkaido, it’s worth noting that Okushiri, where the maskless man was left behind, is a sparsely populated island, so it’s not like he could just catch a bus instead.

Following the incident, the man told public broadcaster NHK that the reason he didn’t want to wear a mask was because wearing one previously had caused him to develop a rash on the skin on his face, and also claims he was only asked why he didn’t want to wear a mask once. As for why he didn’t answer the cabin staff’s question, he said “I didn’t want to talk about my sickness around the other passengers.”

That excuse is a little shaky, since a mask-triggered rash isn’t what most people would call a “sickness,” nor is it a condition that’s contagious. You know what is a contagious sickness, though? COVID-19, so it’s a little hard to believe that someone with a legitimate skin condition would rather be seen as having a cavalier attitude about possible coronavirus transmission. The man’s follow-up statement of “I have no responsibility to wear a mask” also doesn’t help the credulity of his supposed skin rash justification.

Following the incident, Hokkaido Air System (a subsidiary of Japan Airlines) issued a statement clarifying that they did not remove the man specifically because he wasn’t wearing a mask, but because his refusal to communicate with the flight crew was creating a disruptive, potentially unsafe environment within the cabin. But hey, at least he attempted to make his stand before the flight took off, unlike this guy.

Source: NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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