The five-person crew of Pivot Airlines that had been detained in Dominican Republic since April has returned to Canada.
“While we are relieved for the crew’s long overdue return, we know that this incident has taken a heavy toll on their lives, and the lives of their families,” said Eric Edmondson, CEO of Pivot Airlines, in a statement. “For that reason, we are asking media and the public to respect their privacy at this time.”
An emotional airport reunion took place in a special pre-arrivals area of Toronto Pearson International Airport, as the two flight attendants, pilot, co-pilot and mechanic were greeted by family.
The crew touched down shortly after 7 p.m. Pilot Rob Di Venanzo was engulfed in a hug with his wife Melanie, who is also a pilot, and his teenaged son Tyler, telling them “This is surreal, it’s such a relief, I feel like the last couple of months the hope was gone.”
Mechanic B.K. Dubey, with his three young children holding him around his legs, said, “I can’t believe I’m home. I can’t express what it feels like.”
Flight attendant Alex Rozov told his partner Eduardo: “This is a dream come true. This man is my rock, my everything. I love you so much.”
The ordeal began in early April of this year, when the five-person crew of a Pivot Airlines flight from Calgary to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, found a strange bag aboard the aircraft and reported it to authorities.
More bags were subsequently discovered, and local police say they eventually found more than 200 kilograms of cocaine aboard the jet.
One of the pilots, Captain Robert Di Venanzo, told CBC News that he and the other pilot, two flight attendants and a maintenance engineer, were “living a nightmare” after they did what they thought was the right thing by reporting the drugs to the authorities.