– Passenger attacks US Airways flight crew (NBC17, March 28, 2012)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A passenger on US Airways flight 1697 from Charlotte to Ft. Myers, Fla., had to be restrained and put in hand ties after attacking the flight crew, according to police and airline officials.
NBC-17 reporter Jonathan Carlson witnessed the aftermath in the Ft. Myers terminal, and spoke exclusively with members of the flight crew onboard flight 1697.
They say the woman got out of her seat and attacked the crew, kicking them, spitting in their faces and knocking one flight attendant to the ground.
Carlson observed one female flight attendant with bruises and bandages up her arms in addition to scratch marks.
The flight, which originated in Newark and stopped in Charlotte, arrived in Ft. Myers shortly after 6 p.m. and was greeted by police and EMS.
The woman was taken out of the airport by police once the plane arrived. She was observed by medics in the terminal before being taken away. During that time she was screaming and crying.
The flight crew said a Lee County Florida sheriff’s deputy happened to be on board and helped tackle the woman. Flight attendants say the woman complained of being scared of flying shortly before she became violent.
Passengers on board flight 1697 were shaken, one saying the woman was restrained against a wall before being tied. Others praised the flight crew on how they handled the situation.
The same flight crew on flight 1697 flew the return flight to Charlotte later Tuesday night. That flight arrived safely around 9:30.
As a result of the incident, Peggy Albedhady-Sanchez, of Union City N.J., was charged with Interfering with an Aircraft, and Battery.
Police say once the plane landed, they found the woman restrained in the back of the plane, still combative.
Three members of the flight crew told police they were the victims of her assault. They say she became irate after they refused to serve her alcohol.
In addition to the female flight attendant assaulted, the other two were slapped in the jaw and kicked in the groin according to the police report.
The woman also broke an arm rest on the plane during the incident.
According to The Jersey Journal, the woman’s hometown newspaper, the woman’s family claims a combination of medication and alcohol may have been to blame for the outburst. They say she was distraught over the loss of a loved one.
Sanchez remained in jail, and could face federal charges as well.