An SAA plane at OR Tambo in Kepmton Park Gauteng. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Durban - SAA staff who attended to a claim of indecent assault by a passenger on board a flight from India last week acted in accordance with protocol, a preliminary investigation has found.

The airline’s probe of the case of an Indian national accused of fondling a Pietermaritzburg woman who was sleeping next to him on the flight revealed that staff handled the situation correctly.

The 33-year-old man, who was en route to Durban to run the Comrades Marathon, was arrested after the race on Sunday evening.

His case was transferred to the OR Tambo station and he was expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

However, the National Prosecuting Authority and SAPS were unable to say whether he did.

Police at OR Tambo said the docket had been transferred to the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit at the Tembisa SAPS.

The woman, who is in her twenties, claimed she was fondled in an “inappropriate place” while she was sleeping.

She awoke to find the man touching her.

“Even when I woke up, he continued staring at me and touching me,” she said.

The woman said she was unhappy with the action taken by the SAA staff on board the aircraft.

SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said the report indicated that the staff acted in accordance with set procedures.

“The victim was moved from the alleged perpetrator and was offered a seat in the business class cabin,” he said.

Tlali added that the woman was given an option to lay a criminal charge on arrival at OR Tambo airport.

He said that the SAA staff had checked on the victim repeatedly during the remainder of the flight.

The woman did not wish to speak to the media further about the incident.

The Mercury