Two airplane pilots for Aerolíneas Argentinas who allowed a busty celebrity into the cockpit for an hour-long flight, even letting her fly the plane for a short period of time, have been fired, and passengers aboard the flight are preparing to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the airline for endangering their lives.
It all started a week ago, when the Greek-born Victoria “Viky” Xipolitakis – a celebrity best known for posing for the Greek edition of Playboy and for appearing on the Argentine version of "Big Brother" – got onboard an evening flight from Buenos Aires to Rosario, Argentina's third largest city.
Pilot Patricio Zocchi and copilot Federico Soaje invited the well-endowed Xipolitakis into the cockpit immediately afterward, and she stayed there for the remainder of the flight, filming the action in a series of six videos, a few of which were leaked to the press late last week.
In one she is told that she is going to get to pilot the plane during take-off. "I'm going to do it?" the 29-year-old model asked, nervously.
"You sure? Nothing could happen?"
She also chided one of the pilots for looking at his cell phone during take off. "Put down that phone this instant because you're making me panic," she said.
Xipolitakis tweeted about the experience – posts that were later taken down. She also gave a video interview to Clarín in which she described herself as, "an extra pilot."
On Thursday, Aerolíneas Argentinas issued a statement reading, "Pilots Patricio Zocchi Molina and Federico Matias Soaje were removed from their activities on this day and will be dismissed as well as the rest of the staff with responsibility in this event."
The statement also noted that criminal proceedings "will be initiated" against the pilots and Xipolitakis, though the company didn't mention her by name, "for putting the flight’s safety at risk."
Clarín, however, is reporting that the matter will be resolved through mediation rather than a criminal trial.
The flight, on a small Embraer jet, was carrying 36 passengers at the time.
A Buenos Aires lawyer, Gregorio Dalbon, told reporters that he is preparing to file a lawsuit on behalf of 11 of the passengers against the company and the individuals responsible for psychological damages related to having endangered their lives – an action that could wind up costing the airline company as much as $10 million if all the passengers sign onto the suit.
Zocchi, 33, began working for Aerolíneas Argentinas in 2006 and became a pilot just a year later. Soaje, 37, was hired in 2011.
According to Clarín, Xipolitakis has been hiding out at her parents' home since the story broke last week.
Xipolitakis, according to the Rosario daily El Litoral, regularly offers videos of her comings and goings to journalists, and she sent a series of messages about the airplane videos to the host of the television show, "Infama" ("Infamous"), Rodrigo Lussich.
"I have six videos that I taped that are tremendous," she wrote in one, according to El Litoral. "I'm barely aboard the airplane when the pilots see me and tell me to come into the cabin for the whole flight. I piloted the plane during takeoff."
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