The Guardian 2024-03-11 10:01:22


Fifty people treated after ‘technical problem’ caused ‘strong movement’ on Latam flight from Sydney

Passengers on flight to Auckland describe ‘mid-air drop’ with people thrown from their seats

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Fifty people have been treated by ambulance crews and 13 people are in hospital after an in-bound aircraft to Auckland experienced a “strong movement” mid-flight that reportedly saw passengers suddenly thrown about the plane.

In a statement, Hato Hone St John Ambulance said the organisation responded to an incident at Auckland International airport involving an inbound aircraft after a call at 3.58pm local time on Monday.

Five ambulances, a major incident support team vehicle, two rapid response vehicles and a number of senior personnel were dispatched to treat passengers who had been injured on the flight.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Their crews assessed and treated approximately 50 patients, with one person in a serious condition, and most with moderate to minor injuries. Thirteen people were transported to Middlemore hospital by ambulance.

One passenger said that the plane suddenly “just dropped out of the sky” about two hours into the three-hour flight, and that passengers were thrown out of their seats, in some cases hitting the ceiling.

“The whole plane is screaming. The plane then started taking a nose dive and I was just thinking ‘OK this is it, we’re done’,” passenger Brian Jokat told local media outlet Stuff.

Radio New Zealand reported that a passenger on board the flight, Jacinto, said there was a “mid-air drop”.

“People got pretty injured,” he said. A number of passengers were not wearing their seatbelts at the time, he said.

“People were really scared as well.”

The Latam airlines flight from Sydney to Auckland had encountered a “technical problem” that caused “strong movement”, a spokesperson for the South American airline said in a statement to the New Zealand Herald.

The flight was making a scheduled stop in New Zealand on its way to Santiago, Chile.

“The plane landed at Auckland airport as scheduled. As a result of the incident, some passengers and cabin crew were affected. They received immediate assistance and were evaluated or treated by medical staff at the airport as needed,” the Latam spokesperson said.

“Latam regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards.”

The Guardian has contacted the airline and Auckland airport for comment.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • New Zealand
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Cult leader William Kamm and partner arrested in Sydney over alleged child grooming

William ‘Little Pebble’ Kamm and Sandra Costellia expected to be charged following six-month NSW police investigation

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Cult leader William Kamm and his partner have been arrested in Sydney over allegations they groomed a 19-year-old woman for sex from the age of six.

Kamm, 73, who refers to himself as “Little Pebble”, allegedly sent the girl letters and homemade gifts and called her on the phone.

He and Sandra Costellia, 58, were arrested on Monday following a six-month investigation into the alleged historical grooming under New South Wales police’s Strike Force Gandell.

The pair were taken to Day Street police station and were expected to be charged with child grooming offences.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

The sex crimes squad commander, Supt Jayne Doherty, said the woman contacted police in October last year to report that the alleged grooming had happened to her over a 13-year period.

“These are horrendous allegations, that any child should be groomed for that. She’s to be commended that she’s so brave to come forward now,” Doherty said on Monday.

“She was advised by [Kamm] and his partner that she had been selected to procreate with [Kamm] and to build a new sect,” police allege.

Police will also allege that Kamm, who founded breakaway Catholic doomsday cult the Order of Saint Charbel, was “using” Costellia to groom the child and “gave her gifts and gave her certain directions for the grooming”.

Detectives last Thursday raided a unit in Sydney’s CBD as well as the headquarters of what police described as a “religious group” in Bangalee on the NSW south coast, where they seized items including letters and diaries.

Explore more on these topics

  • New South Wales
  • Australian police and policing
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Police investigate reports patrons performed Nazi salute in Melbourne cinema

Cinema Nova spokesperson says group of four men and one woman were ‘vocalising hate speech to create a scene inside the auditorium’

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Police are investigating reports that a group of patrons performed Nazi salutes and made racist comments during a screening of an Oscar-winning Holocaust film at a Melbourne cinema on Saturday night.

The patrons were attending a screening of The Zone of Interest, a German-language adaptation of the Martin Amis novel, a fictionalised account of the real-life Nazi commandant, Rudolf Höss, and his family, who lived in a villa at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

A spokesperson for Victoria Police said in a statement that they were looking into the circumstances surrounding the report.

“It is believed a group of patrons performed a nazi salute and called out a racial slur at a cinema on Lygon Street about 9.15pm,” the statement said.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

“The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are yet to be determined, and the investigation is ongoing.”

In a statement to ABC radio, a spokesperson for Cinema Nova said staff investigated the incident during the screening, in which a group of four men and one woman were “vocalising hate speech to create a scene inside the auditorium”.

“While staff did not catch these individuals in the act despite spending an extended time in the cinema on two separate occasions, the group admitted to creating a scene when confronted by management at the conclusion of the session.”

Security escorted the group out of the venue and staff reported the incident to police.

Performing the Nazi salute was made a criminal offence in Victoria last year after a spate of incidents, including a group of people dressed in black performing the salute at Flinders Street Station.

A person displaying or performing a Nazi symbol or gesture in public can face fines of up to $23,000, 12 months’ jail, or both.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said: “Police will not tolerate behaviour that incites hatred or violence in the community and understands incidents of antisemitism can leave communities feeling targeted, threatened, and vulnerable.”

The Zone of Interest won best international feature film at the Academy Awards on Monday, and also picked up the award for best sound.

In his acceptance speech, director Jonathan Glazer, who is Jewish, decried the current conflict in the Middle East and said he and producer James Wilson had deliberately made the film “to reflect and confront us in the present”.

“Not to say, ‘Look what they did then,’ rather ‘Look what we do now.’ Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst.”

He continued: “Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack in Gaza.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Victoria
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

‘We stand here as Jewish men who refute the Holocaust being hijacked’: Jonathan Glazer calls for end to Gaza attacks at Oscars

Accepting the award for best international film for The Zone of Interest, its director called for an end to the conflict in the Middle East

  • Oscars 2024 live updates
  • Oscars 2024: the full list of winners

Jonathan Glazer, the director of Auschwitz-set film The Zone of Interest, won cheers and applause at the Academy Awards for a speech in which he decried the current conflict in the Middle East.

Glazer took to the stage to accept the Oscar for best international film – the first time Britain has won the prize – for his German-language, Polish-shot adaptation of the Martin Amis novel.

Taking to the stage with producer James Wilson – who has made a series of speeches cautioning against selective empathy – Glazer said that when making the film, the pair had been eager to make its story as contemporary as possible. “All our choices are made to reflect and confront us in the present. Not to say, ‘Look what they did then,’ rather ‘Look what we do now.’ Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst.”

Glazer – who, like Wilson, is Jewish – continued: “Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack in Gaza.”

He finished by dedicating the film to the memory of an elderly Polish woman he had met called Alexandria, who had worked for the Polish resistance when she was just 12.

She recounted how she had cycled to the camp to leave apples, and how she had found the mysterious piece of written music, which, it turned out, had been composed by an Auschwitz prisoner called Thomas Wolf, who survived the war. “She lived in the house we shot in,” Glazer told the Observer last year.

“It was her bike we used, and the dress the actor wears was her dress. Sadly, she died a few weeks after we spoke.”

The Zone of Interest is the third British film to be nominated in the category (following the predominantly Welsh-language films Hedd Wyn in 1993 and Solomon & Gaenor in 2000).

It defeated a field that included Spanish-produced air crash drama Society of the Snow, directed by JA Bayona, and Japanese toilet-cleaner character study Perfect Days, directed by Wim Wenders. Anatomy of a Fall, Zone of Interest’s main non-English-language rival on the awards circuit this year, was not nominated, after France’s Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée instead put forward the Juliette Binoche foodie drama The Taste of Things as the country’s submission.

Sandra Hüller, who stars in Anatomy of a Fall, appears in The Zone of Interest as Hedwig Höss, alongside Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss, the commandant of the Auschwitz death camp.

Read more about the 2024 Oscars:

Explore more on these topics

  • Oscars 2024
  • Jonathan Glazer
  • The Zone of Interest
  • Holocaust
  • Second world war
  • Martin Amis
  • Awards and prizes
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

History rhymes for Cummins and Australia as New Zealand cave in

Australia’s captain was an unlikely batting hero once more but New Zealand’s defeat should never really have happened

To be clear, things like this don’t happen often. Setting up in the fourth innings of the Christchurch Test, Australia needed 279 to win. Australian Test teams have been getting on the park for 147 years. Before Monday, they had chased bigger targets than this a grand total of 13 times. Now that total is up to 14, after an innings that could have gone wrong any number of times, did go wrong in three different bursts, and ultimately went calmly and deliberately right.

One of that previous baker’s dozen of wins came in Edgbaston last year. Late on the fifth day, in the gathering gloom, it was the bowling captain Pat Cummins batting at No 8, finishing on 44 not out, hitting the winning runs with two wickets in hand to reach the target of 282. This time, late on the fourth day, it was Cummins batting at No 9, finishing on 32 not out, hitting the winning boundary to take the score to 281. History rhymed almost to the syllable.

It should never have happened. On the third evening, New Zealand’s opening quicks Matt Henry and Ben Sears had become an irresistible wave: a viciously seaming lbw and a burned review, a dropped catch, a leading edge snared by the bowler two balls later, a slip catch after angling in, a scatter of stumps off the face of an attempted leave. Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, all gone with 34 runs on the board. None of those previous big chases had succeeded from four wickets down for so few.

Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh steadied with a quick 43 by stumps, but Head was gone in the second over the next day, cutting to point one ball after Marsh had been dropped doing the same. Five down, 199 to get. No batting team is supposed to win the game from there. Much less one relying on a counterattacking all-rounder whose recent nine-month renaissance only this day dragged his career batting average above 30, and a wicketkeeper-bat whose primary job has consistently been met but whose second task has recently left him looking in serious discomfort.

And yet, that’s what happened, with Marsh finding the boundary by evading the slip cordon more often than any other method but collecting his runs sensibly in between, while Carey drove an early boundary through cover, looked immediately more at ease than he has in months, and proceeded to be the pacesetter in the partnership as it built toward three figures and the runs required dropped to doubles.

With 86 to get, the game looked gone when the batting pair thrashed Henry for 16 from an over. New Zealand’s best bowler looked exhausted from his efforts to date: nine wickets in the match that had briefly been ten, before an lbw decision against Carey was overturned by the review system. Sears did reverse that trend, though, bowling a full ball that lived up to his name to burn past Marsh’s bat to find pad in front, then a shorter one that Mitchell Starc spliced to square leg.

Two in two, 59 runs to defend, and Cummins edged the next ball just in front of slip and through the cordon for four. A hat-trick on debut to set up a rare win over Australia? It would have set up Sears for life. Like struggling to shake off a troubled night’s sleep, the dream was only an arm’s length away.

Soon enough though was the full awakening, with Cummins calm and composed from that ball on in finishing the match, and Carey batting through to 98 not out. As much as it was a cause for Australian celebration, this was a disaster for New Zealand. Eight Test wins over Australia since 1946, just one from the strong teams of the last 13 years, none in New Zealand itself in 31 years, and while some great chances have slipped away in that time, this one was as clear-cut as any.

Spinner Glenn Phillips had tied Marsh in knots during the World Cup and dismissed Carey in Australia’s first innings at Christchurch, but wasn’t used in the final innings until both those players had passed 50. Scott Kuggeleijn was a waste of a spot, highlighted by conceding ten extras from a notional maiden over, even leaving aside the team being ethically compromised by picking a player with his personal history. Tim Southee created two chances from bad shots to two poor deliveries.

It left everything to Sears, who had his bursts but was understandably rough on debut, and Henry, who had spent all his tickets dragging his team back into the game in the first three days. Fatigue was entirely fair for a guy with the rare distinction of being player of the series in a whitewash loss, an achievement that may only be shared by Brian Lara on his vast tour of Sri Lanka in 2001.

Before this Test, there was a 50-year reunion for the surviving players from New Zealand’s first Test win over Australia back in 1974. Henry deserved an invitation to a similar event in 2074. It was not to be, and aged 32 with Australia not due to visit again until at least 2028, his chances of another chance on home soil are slim.

Right now, New Zealand’s last defining moment against Australia at home was Merv Hughes bowling to Kiwi keeper Tony Blain. Not much underlines the depth of the problem better than that. Supporters are tired of it, and the upbeat chat from a couple of players after this loss doesn’t ease that at all. Australia overcame the odds to win, and can revel in that. Honestly, New Zealand also overcame the odds to lose.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia cricket team
  • Sportblog
  • New Zealand cricket team
  • Cricket
  • Australia sport
  • features
Share

Reuse this content

Spencer Leniu suspended for eight NRL matches for racist slur against Ezra Mam

  • Sydney Roosters prop handed ban after pleading guilty
  • Brisbane Broncos playmaker said Las Vegas incident left him ‘angry’
  • Warning: This article contains racially offensive language

Spencer Leniu said he thought his slur against Ezra Mam was just “one brown man saying something to another brown man”, before he was banned for eight matches by the NRL judiciary.

The Sydney Roosters prop admitted to the judiciary on Monday night he told Mam to “fuck up you monkey” during a verbal stoush in the Las Vegas season-opening double-header against Brisbane.

But in a 90-minute hearing at the NRL’s Sydney headquarters, Leniu also said he did not know the racial connotations of the term and only learned of them the following morning.

He said players of colour in NRL squads regularly called each other terms such as “blacky”, “monkey” and “black cunt”, and therefore he did not realise it would be offensive.

“At the time I thought it was one brown man saying something to another brown man,” Leniu told the panel of Sean Hampstead, Bob Lindner and Geoff Bellew.

“The use of words is so common.

“This game happened so fast and in that split second I said a word, I didn’t know any meaning to it.

“I didn’t know how much that meant to the Indigenous community and his family.

“It was just one of those things. I tackled someone, they said something to me and I said something to them.”

Mam wrote in a statement to the panel that he saw red after the incident, and was “angry” and “disappointed”.

Leniu said he was extremely apologetic to Mam, and still wanted to fly north to make peace with the Broncos five-eighth and his family once the Indigenous star was ready.

“There is no room for racism in this game,” Leniu said.

“I’m glad he brought this thing up. I had no racial intent towards Ezra and the Indigenous community.

“I love them and their culture. I don’t think there’d be a game without those people.”

Leniu said he was not aware Mam was Indigenous until after the match, and that he regretted a hotel corridor verbal altercation with Broncos player Pat Carrigan.

He also said post-match comments in which he labelled the incident “banter” came because of a lack of knowledge around the term, and that he was only made aware of the history around the word “monkey” when contacted by an Indigenous woman the next morning.

In an embarrassing blunder for the NRL, counsel Lachlan Gyles referred to Samoan Leniu as Tongan, and referred to him as “Spencer Luai” at the beginning of the hearing.

Gyles asked Leniu if he was aware of incidents such as those involving Adam Goodes at the Sydney Swans, or other racial incidents involving references to monkeys or apes.

When Leniu said he was not, Gyles suggested to Leniu that “most people who have been in Australia for 15 years would know it would ordinarily be racism to call someone a monkey”.

“It is beyond argument that in Australia in 2024, calling an Indigenous person a monkey does constitute racial abuse, and racial abuse of a very serious nature,” Gyles said.

Leniu’s lawyer, James McLeod, pushed for a ban of four games, comparing the case to Marcelo Montoya’s homophobic slur directed at North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt in 2022.

But Gyles said this case warranted a ban of double that length, arguing the case was different because Mam was part of a minority group and offended by the slur.

Explore more on these topics

  • NRL
  • Rugby league
  • Australia sport
Share

Reuse this content

Spencer Leniu suspended for eight NRL matches for racist slur against Ezra Mam

  • Sydney Roosters prop handed ban after pleading guilty
  • Brisbane Broncos playmaker said Las Vegas incident left him ‘angry’
  • Warning: This article contains racially offensive language

Spencer Leniu said he thought his slur against Ezra Mam was just “one brown man saying something to another brown man”, before he was banned for eight matches by the NRL judiciary.

The Sydney Roosters prop admitted to the judiciary on Monday night he told Mam to “fuck up you monkey” during a verbal stoush in the Las Vegas season-opening double-header against Brisbane.

But in a 90-minute hearing at the NRL’s Sydney headquarters, Leniu also said he did not know the racial connotations of the term and only learned of them the following morning.

He said players of colour in NRL squads regularly called each other terms such as “blacky”, “monkey” and “black cunt”, and therefore he did not realise it would be offensive.

“At the time I thought it was one brown man saying something to another brown man,” Leniu told the panel of Sean Hampstead, Bob Lindner and Geoff Bellew.

“The use of words is so common.

“This game happened so fast and in that split second I said a word, I didn’t know any meaning to it.

“I didn’t know how much that meant to the Indigenous community and his family.

“It was just one of those things. I tackled someone, they said something to me and I said something to them.”

Mam wrote in a statement to the panel that he saw red after the incident, and was “angry” and “disappointed”.

Leniu said he was extremely apologetic to Mam, and still wanted to fly north to make peace with the Broncos five-eighth and his family once the Indigenous star was ready.

“There is no room for racism in this game,” Leniu said.

“I’m glad he brought this thing up. I had no racial intent towards Ezra and the Indigenous community.

“I love them and their culture. I don’t think there’d be a game without those people.”

Leniu said he was not aware Mam was Indigenous until after the match, and that he regretted a hotel corridor verbal altercation with Broncos player Pat Carrigan.

He also said post-match comments in which he labelled the incident “banter” came because of a lack of knowledge around the term, and that he was only made aware of the history around the word “monkey” when contacted by an Indigenous woman the next morning.

In an embarrassing blunder for the NRL, counsel Lachlan Gyles referred to Samoan Leniu as Tongan, and referred to him as “Spencer Luai” at the beginning of the hearing.

Gyles asked Leniu if he was aware of incidents such as those involving Adam Goodes at the Sydney Swans, or other racial incidents involving references to monkeys or apes.

When Leniu said he was not, Gyles suggested to Leniu that “most people who have been in Australia for 15 years would know it would ordinarily be racism to call someone a monkey”.

“It is beyond argument that in Australia in 2024, calling an Indigenous person a monkey does constitute racial abuse, and racial abuse of a very serious nature,” Gyles said.

Leniu’s lawyer, James McLeod, pushed for a ban of four games, comparing the case to Marcelo Montoya’s homophobic slur directed at North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt in 2022.

But Gyles said this case warranted a ban of double that length, arguing the case was different because Mam was part of a minority group and offended by the slur.

Explore more on these topics

  • NRL
  • Rugby league
  • Australia sport
Share

Reuse this content

Person in custody after man fatally assaulted in Gold Coast car park

Emergency services called to the shopping centre car park in Hope Island found a man with life-threatening injuries

A 25-year-old man has been taken into custody in relation to a fatal assault in a Gold Coast shopping centre car park.

Emergency services were called to the car park along Santa Barbara Road in the suburb of Hope Island on Monday afternoon after reports a man had been seriously assaulted.

The man was found with life-threatening injuries, including a chest wound. Emergency services tried to revive the man but he was declared deceased at the scene a short time later.

Police declared a crime scene and launched a homicide investigation.

A 25-year-old man has since been taken into custody in relation to the assault and investigations are continuing.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • Queensland
  • Australian police and policing
  • Crime – Australia
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Sunday dismissed Pope Francis’s call for talks with Russia as “virtual mediation” from a distance.

In an interview broadcast on Saturday by Swiss television, but which the Vatican said was conducted in February, the pontiff urged parties in Russia’s war against Ukraine to “have the courage to negotiate”, and do so “before things get worse”.

The 87-year-old pope was asked by RTS about a debate within Ukraine on whether to surrender to Russia’s invasion.

“I believe that the strongest are those who see the situation, think about the people, and have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate,” he said.

“That word negotiate is a brave word. When you see that you are defeated, that things are not working out, you have to have the courage to negotiate.”

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address, did not refer directly to Francis or his remarks, but said the pope’s ideas had nothing to do with efforts by religious figures in Ukraine to help the country.

“They support us with prayer, with their discussion and with deeds. This is indeed what a church with the people is,” Zelenskiy said. “Not 2,500 km away, somewhere, virtual mediation between someone who wants to live and someone who wants to destroy you.”

A Vatican spokesperson later said the pope was speaking of stopping the fighting through negotiation, not capitulation.

The Kremlin seized on the pontiff’s remarks, with the Russian foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, saying: “The way I see it, the pope is asking the west to put aside its ambitions and admit that it was wrong.”

US man linked to Wieambilla shootings claims right to own guns despite criminal history

Donald Day Jr, linked to fatal shooting of two Queensland police officers, claims his right to guns for self-defence has been violated

A US man linked to the fatal shooting of two Queensland police officers has claimed that his right to own guns for self-defence has been violated by charges of alleged firearms possession while a convicted felon.

Donald Day Jr, 58, was arrested in December 2023 by the FBI in Arizona on two counts of “interstate threats” 12 months after the fatal shootings at rural Wieambilla, west of Brisbane.

He was later charged with illegally possessing firearms, including three military-style rifles, handguns and a sawn-off pump-action shotgun, along with a large cache of ammunition.

Day was convicted in the US state of Wyoming in 1987 of larceny, defined as a felony or serious crime, which prohibited him from using and owning firearms.

Public defender Jon Sands last week filed a defence on the firearms charges that claimed his second amendment rights under the US constitution had been violated.

That amendment states that “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.

Sands referred to a landmark US supreme court decision in 2008 that found many forms of gun control violated the constitution.

“The supreme court held that the second amendment codified an individual right to possess and carry weapons, the core purpose of which is self-defence in the home,” Sands said.

The judges behind the 2008 decision stated at the time their ruling did not affect the ability for the US government to ban gun ownership by felons or people with a mental illness.

Queensland police in January started providing confidential evidence to the FBI concerning the killing of the two officers and a Wieambilla resident.

Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow were shot in cold blood by Nathaniel, Gareth and Stacey Train after the officers arrived at the Wieambilla property.

Neighbour Alan Dare was also shot dead before the Trains were killed in a gunfight with specialist police later that night.

Between May 2021 and December 2022, Day, of Heber, Arizona, is accused of repeatedly sending messages about a “Christian end-of-days ideology” known as premillennialism to the Trains.

Sands last week said Day should not face trial for allegedly possessing a shotgun with an illegally shortened barrel as it was similar to the type of weapons popular in the US when its constitution was drafted in 1787.

“Many blunderbusses of the period, for instance, had barrels shorter than 18 inches [45cm],” he said.

US federal prosecutors have yet to file a response to Day’s motion to dismiss the two firearms charges.

Sands has previously claimed prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence or legal precedents to support interstate threat charges against Day, who has been denied bail.

Day was initially charged with threatening public figures linked to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 response and was later charged with threatening to kill FBI agents.

Explore more on these topics

  • Wieambilla shooting
  • Queensland
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Europe is unprepared for risks from Russia and Trump, says Airbus boss

Aerospace group chief executive urges UK and Europe to pool efforts and merge fighter jet programmes

Europe is unprepared for war with Russia or the risk that Donald Trump could withdraw the US from Nato and needs to ramp up spending on defence equipment, the boss of Airbus has said.

Guillaume Faury, the chief executive of Europe’s biggest aerospace and defence company, said it was a “defining moment” for the continent’s defence industry, after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 brought war to western Europe’s borders.

European nations had relied too much on the US for their security and hardware and become “sub-critical” in key areas of defence, he said. He urged Europe and the UK to “pool our efforts” and merge rival fighter jet programmes.

The intervention by Faury, whose company makes military equipment ranging from Eurofighter Typhoons to helicopters and builds half of the world’s commercial jets, comes amid growing threats from Vladimir Putin. The Russian president recently told Nato countries they risk provoking a nuclear war if they send troops to fight in Ukraine, in a direct riposte to France’s Emmanuel Macron, who opened the door to the prospect.

“We are coming from peacetime,” Faury told the Guardian. “I don’t think Europe has yet the level of preparedness that you would need for a conflict between Europe and Russia. Let’s call a spade a spade. And it seems like Russia is ramping up its defence capabilities.

“We’ve been almost 80 years post-world war two, with a different system that was more designed to deter others from attack, not really preparing for a conflict. If we want to be prepared for potentially different levels of engagement and conflict, then we need to ramp up.”

Faury, a former military helicopter test pilot who became chief executive of Airbus in 2019, said Trump’s warnings about quitting Nato should be a wake-up call to Europe on both security and availability of equipment. The former US president, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has repeatedly called on Europe to spend more on defence and recently said he would encourage Russia to attack Nato members he deemed financially “delinquent”.

“As long as Nato is Nato and provides the level of protection that is expected from Nato, that’s a certain reality,” Faury said. “If we start to believe the reality could be different … we’d better anticipate this potential situation. We had the first warnings with Trump 1. If Trump 2 is of the same nature or even more in terms of the US expecting Europe to take care of itself … we’d better take it seriously.”

In recent decades Europe has increasingly relied on American hardware, contributing to the decline of its own industrial base. Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter jet is flown by countries including the UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. Boeing supplies the UK with Apache and Chinook helicopters, C-17 heavy lift planes, P-8 spy jets and E-7 sentry planes, all built in the US.

MPs on the UK’s public accounts committee said on Friday that the government had no credible plan to fund the armed forces and was increasingly reliant on its allies.

“If you want to be sovereign; to be in control of your future, of what’s happening at the borders of Europe, Europe needs to be by far more independent; really being sovereign on its own defence procurement,” Faury said. “We’ve put a lot in the hands of others. We are sub-critical on most of the different systems in Europe, we don’t collaborate enough to create investment at scale. We buy mostly from outside of Europe, and mostly from the US.”

He said development of sixth generation European fighter jets must not repeat mistakes of the past, when resources were split across three competing aircraft: the Eurofighter, Sweden’s Gripen and France’s Rafale. European orders for the F-35 exceeded the combined orders for the Eurofighter and Rafale, he said.

The UK, Japan and Italy are working together to build a new fighter jet called Tempest, involving the tank and jet manufacturer BAE Systems, the engine-maker Rolls-Royce, the helicopter and systems manufacturer Leonardo and the European missile-maker MBDA. Meanwhile, France, Germany and Spain are developing a rival future combat air system, involving Airbus and Dassault, maker of the Rafale.

Faury said: “We need to cooperate between European countries, including the UK, because we are in businesses where scale matters. The US has scale and they’ve gone for one fighter. We’ve gone for three different fighters.

“It’s quite clear that we need to find a way to pool our efforts together as Europeans to have one very powerful capability by type of weapon system. Does it make sense to not come together for security and defence with the level of insecurity that we see at the borders of Europe? No, I think there’s no choice.

“This is a defining moment when it comes to Europe as a defence and security player or not.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Airbus
  • Aerospace industry
  • Weapons technology
  • Nato
  • Defence policy
  • Manufacturing sector
  • Europe
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Family ‘ecstatic’ as non-verbal boy found safe and well in Sydney after 48-hour search

Hussein Al Mansoory, who lives with autism and Down syndrome, went missing from his Auburn home on Saturday morning

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

A desperate 48-hour search for a vulnerable boy has ended in relief after he was found safe while sheltering in the stairwell of a medical centre.

A major multi-agency search was launched – including a public appeal for help – to find Hussein Al Mansoory after he was last seen running from a park in the western Sydney suburb of Auburn on Saturday morning.

There were serious concerns for the 12-year-old’s welfare as he lives with Down syndrome and autism and is non-verbal.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

But just before 12.40pm on Monday, he was found safe and well in the stairwell before being taken to hospital as a precaution.

A medical centre staff member checked the stairwell after police earlier appealed to the public for assistance.

“He was found in the stairwell, he smiled, he was sitting up,” Supt Simon Glasser told reporters.

“He has been taken to hospital just for a check-up, but on all accounts he’s doing well.”

Supt Glasser thanked members of the public for helping police during the search.

“All of our messaging got out to the right people and someone, as a result of hearing that, has gone and searched a stairwell,” he said.

“[The family] rushed to the scene and took him in their arms, they’re quite ecstatic.”

More than 200 NSW State Emergency Service volunteers joined a search that also included PolAir and the riot squad.

Searchers had been experimenting with playing the boy’s favourite music in the hope of drawing him out if he was hiding or sheltering due to his fear of strangers.

“The volunteers have given up their weekend [and] a lot of them have given up their day from work today to search for the young fella,” SES Auburn unit commander Jamie Newman said.

“It was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders, knowing that he’s been found safe.”

Supt Glasser earlier said the boy had previously gone missing but usually for much shorter periods.

Explore more on these topics

  • Sydney
  • New South Wales
  • news
Share

Reuse this content