Boy Stuck In UAE After Suddenly Acquiring Fear Of Flying
11-year-old Joe Thompson, the son of a British businessman working in the remote UAE village of Al-Ain, recently came down with an acute fear of flying, and as a result, is stuck in the country with no way to get home to the U.K. other than to embark on a 15-day road trip that up until recently, was impossible due to various visa restrictions and safety concerns.
Joe has tried flying home four times. Once, he made it as far as the flight cabin but panicked when the captain announced they were shutting the doors.
“So immediately I knew what I had to do,” says Joe who thinks he may be claustrophobic. “I just got over the chairs, went around into the aisle and sprinted out [of the plane.]”
His father says they have tried various treatments including hypnotherapy and psychiatric consults. He says the medical center at the airport even gave his son a sedative injection before the flight, but Joe was still so upset that the flight crew deemed him unfit to fly.
The most direct route — by car through through Iraq and Syria — was deemed too unsafe by the duo, and a boat trip through the somewhat pirate-infested waters off the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula was taken off the table.
But after initially being denied entry, the Saudi embassy has granted the two visas to allow them to drive through the country with the hope of getting Joe back to school on time on September 4.
Somewhere in the world right now, the manufacturers of Xanax are scrambling to take advantage of this potential marketing coup.
Posted on August 22, 2012 by Matt Stabile