U.S. Marines tackled a drunk passenger who became violent on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Los Angeles, stopping him from repeated attempts to kick a window open.
Marines Subdue Drunken Passenger On Virgin Atlantic
The incident occurred on a Virgin Atlantic flight 141, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operating from London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX) on July 26, 2022.
A man described as “drunk” and “British” was cut off from further alcohol and made a big scene onboard just an hour into the flight, but calmed down and sat back down. A similar outburst occurred a few hours later when he tried for another drink and was again denied.
But it twas the third time that was the charm, with the man allegedly going crazy when he was still denied liquor about eight hours into the flight. He reportedly erupted in anger and attempted to kick open at least one window with the force of his feet. Other reports suggest he attempted to breach the cockpit.
A pair of U.S. Marines who were returning home from London tackled him and with the assistance of the crew, tied him up in the rear of economy class.
At this point, the captain made the decision to divert to Salt Lake City (SLC), where law enforcement met the aircraft and arrested the man (who was traveling with an American partner and young child). The aircraft then continued to Los Angeles, arriving only about an hour late.
The UK Sun reports that the commotion onboard caused a mother onboard to drop her baby, leaving the baby with minor injuries.
From the Halls of Montezuma to the cabin of Virgin Atlantic, U.S. Marines have stepped up when called upon. A pair of Marines deserves praise for quickly jumping in to subdue a passenger who probably should not have been allowed onboard in the first place.
Thankfully, injuries were limited to one baby (and I hope the parents will press charges if there are any lasting injuries). The drunken passenger faces charges today that might land up in jail for up to 20 years.
(image: Virgin Atlantic // H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)
Nearly drove to SLC (30 min) just get a pic of the plane I usually only see flying high overhead…
Every time I hear of these incidents and the person had a young child with them it breaks my heart. Just why would anyone put their child through the horror of witnessing this experience? I hope he gets the help he must desperately need and that this does not have long term affects on the child’s development.
I am getting the help I need. Thanks for your concern.
Good thing I know you better, Mitch. LOL.
I’m British but I don’t drink however I know how we act when alcohol is involved and it’s usually not pleasant. I’m sure the guy was probably drunk before he even got on the plane. I’ve seen people coming out of the British Airways lounge at IAD to board flights and they’re typically falling over themselves. Why do airlines even let these people get on board? My dad was at Liverpool airport once for an early morning flight back to Poland and almost everyone was drinking beer. At 6AM!
This reminds me of a flight I took out of Liverpool airport heading to Amsterdam and saw heaps of people drinking (at < 3AM!!) before their flights. Witnessed one hen party group running for their gate, off their faces, one with a pint of beer in her hand trying to reach their flight that was closing. The flight itself that morning was also eventful due to a stag party giving one of their group a glass of urine to drink (as a joke) due to the long taxi to the terminal on landing – yes, the man urinated into the glass at his seat before handing it over.
As a Brit now living in Australia, I cringe when I come back to visit family and see these groups stumbling around the bars, terminals and planes. How did we create such a toxic culture of "the holiday starts at the airport"???
I did some field engineering work at a Siemens semiconductor factory in Graz, Austria.
There was a cold beer vending machine in the employee break room.
Employees then went back to work in a highly complex automated robotic assembly equipment environment.
I came down for breakfast around 7 am at the hotel and the bar was packed with locals drinking huge mugs of beer.
They all drove away in their personal automobiles.
Think about it.
I would hope that the boarding personnel have realized the state the disturber was in and refused to allow him to board.
Maybe they didn’y care.
Get’s the help he needs AFTER serving his time.
Boris Johnson sure has a lot of time on his hands these days.
Small, niggly point….a US Marine, like the rest of the members of the Armed Forces, is never “off duty.” Once enlisted into the military, you are technically never “off duty,” just maybe not at the “office.”
Does that mean that any members of the US armed forces are ‘on duty’ for their employer even when they find themselves in other jurisdictions (as in this case on a British registered aircraft)? Is that even legal under international law?
I always considered myself “on duty” when I lived in Japan, Bahrain, or the United Arab Emirates. My superiors always considered me to be in a duty status responsible for my behavior no matter what country I was in.
You have to feel for the long suffering wife and small child………
Of course, the full facts aren’t known. Not an excuse for such appalling behaviour; potentially putting his partner and child along with everyone else on board at risk, but even a small pre boarding tipple if mixed with legitimate medication, combined with the altitude pressure in the pax cabin and maybe a fear of flying, etc.m etc., etc., could all have played a part.
However, not an excuse……he could just be a jumped up obnoxious drunk. Kudos to the US Marines (who are NEVER off duty!) and the cabin crew for restraining the errant pax
As an ex-Army guy, I don’t have a lot of affection for Marines, but these guys came through big-time. Good work, and bad work to the drunk guy for perpetuating the stereotype of Brits as unruly drunks the moment they’re out of UK airspace.
As an ex-army guy, you don’t like marines? That’s Funny.
Well that’s the difference right, there isn’t it?
You describe yourself as an “ex-army” guy, but no Marine is an “ex-Marine”.
That said, I understand! Most Marines like their immediate friends, and it’s “Semper Fi Mac” to anyone outside that circle, irrespective of service or military/civilian status.
I doubt it was alcohol that caused this, since he was repeatedly refused service on the plane even if he boarded drunk it would have been at least 8 hours into the 10 hour flight from heathrow by the time it was over salt lake city, he would have sobered up by then.
If the jerk was subdued and restrained, why further inconvenience the remaining paying passengers by landing in SLC, gag and handcuff the ahole, crank up the jets and fly on to the final destination, be done with it…..probably took more time and hassle to divert than it would have to reach LAX……just saying……
Training for the flight crew these days should include skils and maneuvers for the handling of violent passengers, and restraining them if necessary. I’m sure it is.
That’s always been a part of Flight Attendant training. Just curious, what do you think they do in Flight Attendant training? Its a lot more than learning how to serve meals in first class. Besides being trained on how to perform certain medical emergencies (CPR, delivering a baby), fight an onboard fire, perform an emergency evacuation (both land and water), what to do if a bomb is found onboard, and so on and so on, we also receive some combat training and are taught how to use certain items on the airplane as a weapon against a hijacker, etc. survival skills training, as well as self-defense and conflict de-escalation techniques.
Training for the flight crew these days should include how to handle and restrain violent passengers. Thankfully the passengers did help in thi situation.
And always will. There’s usually a burly fellow or two around who can intervene. You don’t want a stewardess getting her arm broken by some drunk. Training unarmed combat takes a long while to be effective unless you are going to seriouly hurt or kill someone.
Mixing alcohol with Xanex pre-boarding would explain why he was still bonkers 8 hours later. Waking up in jail in another state or country may be pivotal for him to seek help & hopefully this is his rock bottom. Hopefully the childs mother finds someone for him/her to talk this out before she/he acts it out later.
Re: Admiral Mitscher Mcvey, “ … a US Marine, like the rest of the members of the Armed Forces, is never “off duty.”…”
Reservists can be “off duty”, only subject to UCMJ when “in uniform” or “on orders”. The 2 grunts* discussed could possibly have been reservists.
(* Absolutely no disrespect intended or implied. It’s my understanding, based on 32 years (8 active, 24 reserve, sea duty, Afghanistan) of Navy medical service providing care for many jarheads, that US Marines do not consider “grunt” and/or “jarhead” to be insulting, they consider those terms compliments. I apologize if anyone is offended by my use of those terms, I certainly mean them in the most complimentary way possible.)
There should be a study done, and I wonder what the effect of less oxygen has (if there is) at 8000ft equivalent elevation, on human behaviour and mood? I myself have noticed being more irritable and cranky when flying. But I stopped drinking and that seemed to make me a much better person both in mood and general health.