A drunken passenger on an IcelandAir flight from Iceland to New York was duct-taped to his seat by fellow passengers after attacking one woman, spitting on other passengers and screaming the plane was going to crash.
A friend of one of the observing passengers, Andy Ellwood of New York, posted a picture of the subdued flyer to his Tumblr with an account of the incident.
The “passenger drank all of his duty free liquor on the flight from Iceland to JFK yesterday”, Andy Ellwood wrote.
“When he became unruly, (i.e. trying to choke the woman next to him and screaming the plane was going to crash), fellow passengers subdued him and tie him up for the rest of the flight. He was escorted off the flight by police when it landed.”
The photo was sent to Andy Ellwood because he and his friend liked to trade “travel war stories” he said.
His friend who observed the in-flight meltdown did not want to be identified or talk with the media.
The 46-year-old man, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested upon landing at JFK on Thursday.
He had an Icelandic passport, according to Port Authority spokesman, Ron Marsico.
The passenger’s tirade began after several hours in the air when there were about two hours left on the flight, reported Icelandic news outlet Mbl.is.
IcelandAir’s Vice President of Corporate Communication, Guðjón Arngrímsson, confirmed to reporters that the man was acting dangerously, but would not comment on the picture.
The unruly passenger was transported to a hospital in Queens after being taken off the plane, said Ron Marsico of the Port Authority.
Prosecutors declined to charge him for what he did because too many passengers were reluctant to discuss his outburst with authorities, the New York Post reported.
Coincidentally, police arrested an American Eagle pilot after he failed a blood-alcohol breath test before he was scheduled to fly from Minneapolis to New York City Thursday.
Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen was running pre-flight checks at approximately 6:30 a.m. when police, acting on a tip, boarded the plane and made him take a breathalyzer.
He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol.
“These incidents are very rare,” airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told the Post.
“But every few years, we’ll have a case. We have nearly half a million flights come in and out and we have one case every three or four years.”
Passengers had yet to board for the flight, which was delayed two and a half hours while a replacement pilot was found, according to Matt Miller, a spokesman for the airline’s sister company, American Airlines.
Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen is suspended pending an investigation.
The alcohol limit for flying is even lower than the one for driving, with a .04 threshold in Minnesota.