A teenager recovering from head injuries had to be removed from a flight to Christchurch under police escort this morning after appearing to suffer a panic attack.
The 17-year-old male, who was travelling with a female companion, abruptly left his seat and went forward to cabin staff as NZ337 was taxiing for takeoff from Wellington.
The Boeing 737 returned to the gate, but the man appeared to change his mind and returned to his seat.
Cabin staff had initially persuaded him to the door to disembark, but he returned and buckled himself in.
He told airport security to "piss off" and "don't touch me" repeatedly -- saying he wanted to go to Christchurch and had paid for a ticket.
Police were called and passengers were moved from the adjacent seats.
A police officer spoke calmly to the man, who got up and left the plane quietly.
The captain informed passengers the man had suffered a head injury from a mountain bike accident.
It was his second attempt to fly to Christchurch to visit a terminally ill relative, the captain said.
The 9.30 flight departed 25 minutes late.