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Malaysia Airlines steward detained over alleged sexual assault of passenger

Chief steward was detained by French police shortly after arriving at Charles De Gaulle airport

A Malaysia Airlines chief steward has been detained in France over allegations he sexually assaulted an Australian passenger who was afraid of flying.

In a statement released today the national carrier said French police had detained a cabin crew member and were questioning him following allegations of “inappropriate sexual behaviour” towards a passenger travelling on flight MH20 from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on 4 August.

The passenger had confided in the cabin crew of her fear of flying with the airline in the wake of the two tragedies earlier this year.

According to the woman the steward sat next to her on the pretext of “comforting her” and then sexually assaulted her during the flight.

Malaysia Airlines have said they will assist the French police in their investigation, stating: "Malaysia Airlines expects and accepts nothing short of the highest standards of conduct from its crew and takes any such allegations very seriously," it said.

The statement continues: “the safety, comfort and well-being of our passengers is always our highest priority".
The case is the latest setback for the struggling Malaysian airliner, which been dogged by ill-luck.

The airliner was widely criticised for its handling of the disappearance of MH370, en route to Bejing from Kuala Lumpar, in March with 239 passengers aboard. There is still no sign of the airliner. Only months later in July MH17 was tragically shot down over contested territory in Ukraine, with all 298 people travelling killed.

The financial state of the company as it stands is precarious.