August 14, 2022

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Unruly passenger forces fly from London to Los Angeles to turn it into Salt Lake City

Unruly passenger forces fly from London to Los Angeles to turn it into Salt Lake City

In a press release, Salt Lake City Police said that William Stephen Hayes, 39, of the United Kingdom, was subsequently arrested at Salt Lake City Airport on suspicion of violence and disobedience on an international flight.

CNN was unable to determine if Hayes had secured an attorney. Police said Wednesday that he is being held in a Salt Lake County jail.

Investigators tentatively believe that Hayes, a passenger on Virgin Atlantic Flight 141, became upset mid-flight and then became violent “after several attempts by the cabin crew to maintain order,” a police news release said.

Police said the flight crew and passengers then detained him.

“While being restrained, Hayes assaulted cabin crew and at least one passenger, resulting in minor injuries,” Salt Lake City Police said. Police said he was also accused of kicking plane seats and windows while being restrained, although airline staff found no damage after an inspection.

The plane landed in Salt Lake City just after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Salt Lake City police said passengers and flight staff were still handcuffing Hays when police and Customs and Border Protection officers met the flight crew at the airport.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing on Wednesday and will be referred to the federal prosecutor.

Hayes was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Utah.

Virgin Atlantic said the flight continued after landing in Salt Lake City on its way to Los Angeles and landed about four hours after its scheduled arrival.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we do not tolerate any behavior that would compromise this,” the airline’s statement said. “We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us, and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any personnel who may impact that experience for others.”

So far this year, 1,701 reports of riotous passengers have been filed with the FAA, with 582 investigations launched. According to FAA data.
last year was The worst ever of unruly airline passenger behavior in the United States, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data. In 2021, there were 5,981 reports of riotous passengers, with 1,113 investigations launched.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.

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