Uber driver fired for airport brawl that left 71-year-old in hospital

14 September 2018 - 11:36 By Naledi Shange
Uber SA has removed the driver's access to the app after he was caught on camera brawling with an elderly man.
Uber SA has removed the driver's access to the app after he was caught on camera brawling with an elderly man.
Image: TOBY MELVILLE / REUTERS

Uber SA has confirmed that the man who was caught on CCTV camera beating a 71-year-old elderly man to a pulp in the parking lot of OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is one of their drivers.

"What’s been described is horrible and something no one should ever go through. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time and we will continue to stay in touch with them to offer our support‚" said Uber’s Samantha Allenberg.

“This violent and aggressive behaviour is completely unacceptable. Upon learning of this‚ we immediately removed the driver's access to the app.

"We have been in close contact with law enforcement to provide them with as much information as possible‚ which has led to the suspect's arrest‚" she said.

The victim sustained serious injuries in the brawl.

“Our information is that the man remains in hospital in a critical condition‚ having suffered head injuries in the altercation‚” said airport spokesperson Leigh Gunkel-Keuler in a statement on Wednesday.

“We extend our sympathy and support to the injured man and his family.”

Police are investigating the incident.

“The 71-year-old man who was injured had gone to the airport to fetch his relative‚” said Colonel Vishnu Naidoo.

The airport said the altercation took place on Sunday at 10.12am‚ apparently over a parking space in front of the airport terminal building.

“Airport management has viewed video footage of the incident. The video shows that an altercation broke out between a driver in a green SUV and a driver in a gold vehicle.

“The video shows that the SUV driver got out of his vehicle and kicked the fender of the gold vehicle.”

The driver of the gold vehicle got out and the two men argued‚ then began throwing punches.

The airport said a security officer patrolling the lower roadway intervened within one minute of the incident.

The driver of the gold vehicle then went into the passenger terminal building and returned with two people and their luggage. While the driver of the gold vehicle was loading luggage into the boot‚ the driver of the green SUV returned and resumed the confrontation.

Punches were again thrown‚ as the airport security officer attempted to separate the individuals.

During the brawl‚ the driver of the SUV fell to the ground. The driver of the gold vehicle then drove off.

The airport said its security officer could be seen in the video attempting to separate the individuals and resolve matters throughout the altercation‚ which lasted about four minutes. Additional airport security officers arrived on the scene within five minutes.

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