United flight returns to DIA due to passenger smoking on plane

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(FILE PHOTO) A United Airlines 737 MAX 9 is shown in this publicity photo from the airline.

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DENVER — A United flight leaving Denver for Boston late Friday night was forced to turn back around  when a passenger smoking on the aircraft refused to stop, officials say.

Flight 677 returned to Denver International Airport around midnight due to a disturbance on board, according to Laura Coale with DIA.

A male passenger was smoking in a lavatory, contrary to federal regulations, according to Rahsaan Johnson, a spokesperson for United Airlines.

When he refused to put it out, the plane was forced to turn around, about 30 minutes in to the flight.

Denver Police met the plane in response to the disturbance and since the passenger refused to stop smoking, he was taken to a local hospital for detoxification.

The flight to Boston was cancelled due to crew members being unable to continue the flight within their legally allowed duty hours, according to Johnson with United Airlines.

Passengers on that flight were rescheduled for a flight on Saturday.

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