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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Passenger exposed buttocks and threw can during flight, prosecutors say

A passenger who refused to wear a mask on a flight from Dublin to New York dropped his pants and exposed his buttocks, threw a can at the passenger, put a cap on the captain’s head and told him: “Don’t touch me,” prosecutors said in the case opened Friday.

Following a Delta flight from Dublin to John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 7, passenger Shane McInerney, 29, from Galway, Ireland, was charged with assault and intimidation of a crew member, prosecutors said. Prosecutors say if found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

On Saturday, Mr. McInerney’s lawyer, Benjamin Yaster, declined to comment on the allegations. Mr. McInerney first appeared in federal court in Brooklyn on Jan. 14 and was released on $20,000 bail, prosecutors said.

The allegations represent the latest example of unruly and sometimes violent behavior that has skyrocketed on aircraft since the pandemic began. Many of the riots involved passengers who refused to wear masks as required by the federal government.

On Wednesday, an American Airlines flight from Miami to London diverted about an hour into the flight due to a passenger who refused to wear a mask, the airline said.

In October, a passenger was accused of punching an American Airlines flight attendant in the nose, giving her a concussion, after an argument over a mask. And in December, a California woman pleaded guilty to repeatedly hitting a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight, bleeding her face and knocking out three of her teeth.

“Over the past year, we have seen a sharp spike in unruly passenger incidents, and we have taken a number of measures to bring the situation under control,” said Steve Dixon, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, during an online discussion. week.

“And I’m happy to report that rates are coming down significantly year on year, but we still have work to do,” Mr. Dixon said. “And that, again, is something we need to continue to stay focused on.”

In a court filing, the FBI agent said Mr. McInerney refused to wear a mask despite being asked to do so “dozens” of times during the eight-hour flight. The statement said he threw an empty drink can, hitting another passenger on the head, and threw the seat back in front of him, disturbing the passenger.

At some point, he moved from his seat in the economy section to the first class section and complained to the flight attendant about the food. The statement said that as he was escorted back to his seat, Mr McInerney “dropped his pants and underwear and exposed his buttocks” in front of a flight attendant and passengers seated nearby.

About two hours into the flight, the captain spoke to Mr. McInerney during a break, the statement said. During the conversation, Mr. McInerney twice took off his cap, put it on the captain’s head, and then took it off again, the statement said.

He also put his fist to the captain’s face and said, “Don’t touch me,” the statement said.

At least one of the passengers found Mr. McInerney’s behavior “intimidating” and flight crew considered diverting the plane to another airport so Mr. McInerney could be removed from the plane, the statement said.

The flight continued to New York. As the plane made its final approach to JFK and everyone was strapped into their seats, Mr. McInerney again disobeyed the flight attendants’ orders, according to a statement saying he got up, walked into the aisle and “refused to sit down again.”

World Nation News Desk
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