LOS ANGELES (CBS)
A Los Angeles man is being charged with interfering with crew members and flight attendants after he allegedly caused mid-air turbulence that caused a flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC to land in the city. Kansas City on Sunday.
The man, Juan Rivas, was subdued by both passengers and crew members, including a flight attendant, who prevented him from opening the passenger door by hitting him on the head with a coffee pot. me, according to the affidavit. The Transportation Safety Board told CBS News that there was no aviation police chief on board, and that the suspect was restrained by two passengers and two officers on duty.
The charge, a felony, carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The affidavit includes eyewitness accounts from several passengers and flight attendants who subdued Rivas. A flight attendant told investigators that Rivas first went to the front of the plane to tell a flight attendant that “people were trying to hurt him and they followed him onto the plane.” He said one of those people was sitting in his row, so the flight attendants allowed him to move to another seat, the affidavit affidavit.
Rivas approached the cockpit shortly after and told the flight attendants that the plane was actually not flying, the flight attendant said. When a waiter used a cart to create some distance between her and Rivas, he allegedly grabbed the plastic cutlery and stuffed it up his sleeve, holding it “like a leg”. He is then said to have snatched a bottle of champagne and attempted to break it on the counter.
Another flight attendant said they heard Rivas say “we’re going to take this plane down,” so the flight attendant went back to the back of the plane, turned on the plane’s lights and grabbed a pot of coffee.
Next, Rivas tried to open the passenger boarding door, ignoring the stop order, many flight attendants said. One passenger said in the affidavit that he pulled so hard that the door moved out of the frame by two to three inches.
One of the flight attendants then hit him several times with a coffee pot before passengers entered to subdue him, the affidavit said. When Rivas was on the ground, passengers said they bandaged his legs and used the flight attendants’ lanyards to restrain him.
Another passenger, a police officer, said he punched Rivas and helped restrain him with handcuffs and duct tape.
Flight attendants told investigators they did not see Rivas drinking during the flight.
The FBI on Sunday confirmed an incident occurred on the plane. The Association of Flight Attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, tweeted Sunday that “this violent behavior must stop”.
Airlines have reported an increase in disruptive passenger behavior since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the FAA received more than 5,500 reports of unruly behavior. Nearly 400 other incidents have been reported so far in 2022, according to the administration.
In response, airlines have added passengers to their internal blacklists, and Delta Airlines has urged companies to share that personal list, which is different from the federal no-fly list. And the Transportation Security Administration and FAA have warned that disruptive passengers could lose the privilege of checking in before TSA.
The FAA initiated investigations into nearly 1,100 cases last year and another 93 this year. The agency has ordered more than $160,000 in civil fines against disruptive passengers.
Allison Gualtieri contributed to this report.
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https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/15/l-a-man-charged-with-trying-to-open-plane-door-in-midair/ LA man accused of trying to open plane door in midair