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Pilot Tackles Drunk Passenger Who Assaulted Flight Attendant

On Monday, 25-year-old Kentucky resident Michael Kerr appeared in court to answer to charges stemming from drunkenly assaulting crew members on an American Airlines flight. According to the Charlotte Observer, Kerr is out on a $25,000 bond, although he is banned from flying commercial airlines and is barred from making contact with the female flight attendant he attacked.

The incident occurred on July 21 during a flight from Lexington, Kentucky, to Charlotte, North Carolina. The Daily Beast reported that Kerr downed three whiskeys after accepting his partner’s marriage proposal. The visibly intoxicated Kerr then refused to follow the flight staff’s instructions to buckle his seatbelt and then demanded to be allowed to exit ahead of everyone else while the plane was taxiing towards the gate at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. He refused additional instructions to remain seated.

From the Charlotte Observer:

According to an FBI affidavit, Kerr remained standing. When an attendant interceded, Kerr threatened to break her jaw.

Kerr walked quickly to the front of the plane and cursed at the flight crew. He kicked one attendant in the leg and shoved another to the floor, the affidavit says. The pilot and co-pilot, listed only by their initials in the document, got Kerr on the ground and used a seat belt strap to restrain his legs and keep him from kicking.

After Kerr kicked a female flight attendant and shoved her to the floor, the pilot managed to tackle the unruly passenger and pin him to the ground. “Sit down. Sit down. Enough,” the pilot said. “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant.Enough. You hear me?”

Surrounding passengers pitched in by restraining Kerr’s flailing with their seat belts.

Kerr is now facing up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines on federal charges of interfering with the duties of a flight crew member or pilot. That might throw a wrench in his wedding plans.

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