A Malaysia Airlines chief flight attendant sexually assaulted an Australian woman during a flight to France and then pleaded with the female passenger to not report him, according to Australian media.
Laura Bushney, a resident of Perth, said she was “petrified” when the steward allegedly began touching her under the guise of calming her nerves as she was afraid of flying on the carrier after numerous deadly incidents.
Earlier this month the airline issued a statement acknowledging that a cabin crew member had been detained in France over sexual assault allegations on August 4, 2014.
Bushney told Channel 7 on Sunday evening that three hours into the half-full flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris the steward had sat beside her and allegedly began massaging her legs.
The 26-year-old also claims he later assaulted her, taking advantage of her fear for flying.
“I just keep saying why didn’t I scream, why didn’t I shout? Why didn’t I stop it? I am a strong person because I can do that, I know I can,” Bushney said. “When I was in the moment I couldn’t. I felt so scared, so petrified.” Bushney recorded part of the alleged attack on a mobile phone wrapped in a scarf next to her pillow.
Bushney was reportedly seated in row 81, which was vacant except for a man six seats away on the far side of the plane. After the encounter she told a passenger in front of her, Canadian Sophie Lachance, what had happened.
“Somebody touched my arm … and I remember I woke up and I saw her face full of tears and she was sobbing really, really strong,” Lachance told Channel 7. “She told me that this man did something to her.”
The steward returned to where Bushney was seated and can be seen pleading with her that his “intentions were good” on the recording she made.
In its statement Malaysia Airlines vowed to assist French authorities in their investigation, adding “the safety, comfort and wellbeing of our passengers is always our highest priority”.
However, Bushney told Channel 7 she was disappointed with the airline’s response to her complaint, claiming it had not contacted her since.
Meanwhile, a Malaysian news blog is questioning Bushney’s credibility and character.