Drunk Hockey Fan Dies on Flight to Toronto

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A Russian hockey fan died aboard a Toronto-bound Aeroflot flight after drinking heavily and harassing other passengers, including Russian Hockey Federation president and Hall of Fame goalie Vladislav Tretyak.

The unidentified 41-year-old man was drinking straight from the bottle together with other passengers and began arguing with several passengers on the flight from Moscow on Wednesday, Canada's Globe and Mail reported.

Tretyak said he was sleeping in the business class cabin when he felt someone rubbing his head, Sovietsky Sport reported Sunday. The man left the cabin, and Tretyak said he heard only later that he had died.

"I saw the man only twice," Tretyak said. "Once when he patted me on the head and then only after he was already dead, lying next to the entrance to the stewardess' quarters."

Three hours into the flight, several passengers, together with members of the flight crew, moved to subdue him after he insulted a female passenger, Canada's CBC News reported.

The female passenger was "shouting back at him because he obviously did something that he shouldn't have done," a witness told CBC News.

Passenger Michael Packham, 34, told the Globe and Mail that several attempts were made to restrain the passenger after he began stumbling around the cabin, stepping on people's feet and accidentally hitting people in the head.

"People kept trying to restrain him, but he kept getting back up," Packham said.

Another passenger, Vsevolod Timofeyev, said he saw the man turn blue after he lay down in the aisle between economy and business class.

The man died an hour before the plane landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the Toronto Star reported.

Toronto police said that, while the cause of death remained unclear following an autopsy conducted Saturday, there appeared to be no signs of foul play.

Canadian authorities have not released the man's name, but the daily tabloid Tvoi Den said he was a hockey fan on his way to Quebec to watch the Russian national team play in the Ice Hockey World Championships.

The passengers, including Tretyak, were detained for six hours in Toronto after the flight while police conducted an investigation into the death.

Drunken passengers are involved in hundreds of on-board incidents each year on Russian airlines. In one incident in July 2004, three male flight attendants got drunk and beat up a passenger who complained about poor service on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to the west Siberian town of Nizhnevartovsk.