An illegal immigrant slashed his own throat aboard a plane yesterday in an 11th-hour bid to avoid being sent home.
Passengers watched in horror as the man, from Jamaica, cut his neck as the commercial Virgin Atlantic flight readied for take off from Gatwick to Kingston.
But while the UK Border Agency (UKBA) last night insisted his injuries were merely "superficial", one source said medics used superglue to hold the man's throat together before rushing him to hospital.
A spokesman for the UKBA said an investigation had been launched into the incident. which occurred on board a Boeing 747-400 carrrying some 450 passengers. He would not reveal exactly what was used to inflict the wound.
A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Virgin Atlantic confirms that flight VS69 from London Gatwick to Kingston has been delayed until 12.45 on 21 June following a passenger incident. The aircraft which was due to depart at 12.45 on 20 June was met by the relevant authorities and the passenger was taken to hospital for treatment.
"The safety and welfare of our crew and passengers is Virgin Atlantic's top priority. Virgin Atlantic is co-operating with the authorities in their investigation of the incident and is offering counselling support to passengers and crew." Passengers were offered hotel accommodation for the night.
The UKBA later said the man was taken to hospital where his condition was described as "non-life-threatening". He was later returned to immigrant custody after being treated and discharged.