While details are still emerging, this situation is horrible no matter how you slice it.
Tunisian media is reporting that one Saudia crew member is in critical condition and six Saudia crew members have been arrested following a violent assault in Tunis. The Saudia crew had a layover in Tunis, and one of the crew members was allegedly found in critical condition at the hotel’s pool after a night out, and is now in intensive care.
As a result of this incident, Saudia’s flight from Tunis to Jeddah on Saturday, June 15 (SV366), was canceled.
Saudia has confirmed the injury of a crew member on Twitter, though hasn’t acknowledged that other crew members have been arrested in conjunction with this incident.
توضح إدارة الخطوط السعودية في تونس أن أحد ملاحي "السعودية" تعرض لإصابة بالغة في مقر إقامته بتونس، وتؤكد أنها تتابع الحالة الصحية للملاح، كما تتابع التحقيقات المتعلقة بالقضية بالتعاون والتنسيق مع السفارة السعودية والسلطات التونسية المختصة، وسيتم توضيح نتائج التحقيقات حال انتهائها
— المركز الإعلامي | الخطوط السعودية (@svmedia_center) June 15, 2019
While details here are still emerging, it’s concerning if six crew members have been arrested in connection with this.
As of now we don’t know if all the people arrested were cabin crew, or if pilots were also arrested. One interesting dynamic with Saudia cabin crew is that they have a pretty even split between “local” cabin crew and foreigners.
All of the local cabin crew are Saudi men, while a majority of the foreign cabin crew are females from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
There’s sometimes tension between these two groups, given that generally speaking the local crews tend to boss around the foreign crews and not treat them fairly (for example, read about my flight on Saudia from Colombo to Jeddah, where business class passengers were second class citizens — the male Saudi cabin crew were served first).
I only bring this up because:
- The fact that six crew were arrested suggests authorities have reason to believe the crew was involved
- The fact that six crew were arrested suggests this wasn’t just an altercation between one crew member and the victim, but rather may have been something coordinated
We also don’t know if it was one of the (probably female) foreign crew members who was violently assaulted, or one of the local men.
I think most people probably have a couple of different scenarios playing out in their head, though it’s only speculation at this point.
Here’s to hoping that the injured crew member is able to make a full recovery, and that a full and transparent investigation is done, so that the person (or people) responsible are held accountable.
(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)