A Paris-bound flight from Indianapolis was diverted to Detroit after just 40 minutes due to an “unruly” passenger who began to act erratically, vomited, and struck a flight attendant.
According to media reports, Ian Robert James Morin, 21, of Indiana, was arrested on the evening of June 13 after the Delta 500 flight was diverted from Charles de Gaulle airport to Detroit Metro airport.
Security personnel on board restrained Morin until the plane had landed, said a spokesperson for Detroit Metro airport, according to the Indy Star.
Several passengers also helped restrain Morin until he was put into flex-cuffs, said the Star, citing a federal complaint filed the following day.
“Morin hit one of the flight attendants with an open hand to the left side of her throat near her carotid artery,” the complaint said, according to WXYZ. “Morin continued to yell and attempted to hit the flight attendant again. During the altercation, Morin threw up on the aircraft.”
According to WTHR, Delta issued the following statement: “We apologize for the delay and inconvenience of our customers on Flight 500, Indianapolis to Paris. As a matter of safety, the flight was diverted to Detroit to remove an unruly passenger. The remaining customers were put in hotels overnight and Continue to Charles de Gaulle airport this morning. They will land about 14 hours past their scheduled arrival.”
Morin was charged in a federal court with interfering with flight crew members and attendants, reported Detroit News.
The crime carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
Although it is rare for flights to be diverted or turned around, unruly passengers are a common cause, especially if they require restraint by the flight crew.
In 2017, a passenger turned violent when crew tried to stop him opening the door 45 minutes into a flight from Seattle to Beijing.
The crew reportedly had to resort to violence to defend themselves and bring the situation under control after the passenger punched flight crew and passengers who came to their aid.
A passenger on the flight—which had to be turned around—told KIRO 7 News: “They broke two bottles of wine on his head. I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll.”
Flights have been diverted or turned back for other bizarre reasons too.
In December last year, the pilot of a Southwest passenger airplane was forced to make a U-turn back to Seattle airport after a human heart was discovered to have been accidentally left on board.
The plane had earlier flown from Sacramento to Seattle, according to The Seattle Times, where the heart was supposed to be unloaded for delivery to a local hospital on Dec. 9.
But it wasn’t unloaded, staying aboard the plane that now became an evening flight to Dallas.
The plane got over 500 miles before the pilot turned back for the airport with the express purpose of returning the heart, with other passengers in tow, so that it could reach the hospital in time.
Other flights have been turned around because passengers have somehow left children and babies behind at the airport.
In November 2017, a flight from Iran to Bali was diverted when a passenger became unruly on discovering, mid-flight, that her husband was having an affair.
According to reports, the woman had already been drinking before she boarded the flight from Iran to Bali on Nov. 5. When her husband fell asleep, she managed to unlock his phone and uncovered evidence that he had been cheating.
The Hindustan Times said Indian security officials confirmed that the flight had been diverted to Chennai in India to offload a drunk Iranian woman.
She had flown into a rage after unlocking her husband’s phone by pressing his thumb against the screen as he slept. The pilot requested permission to divert and land at Chennai as she refused to settle down and cooperate with the flight crew.