British passenger, 39, is arrested after trying to ‘break into cockpit’ and kick out windows during a mid-air rampage before being restrained during Virgin Atlantic flight from London to LA
- British passenger William Stephen Hayes, 39, became unruly on a Virgin Atlantic flight traveling from London to Los Angeles Tuesday
- A law enforcement source said: ‘A passenger onboard became unruly and fought several passengers while attempting to move towards the cockpit’
- Hayes kicked airplane seats and windows, causing the plane to make an emergency landing in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Hayes was arrested upon landing in Salt Lake City and is now in FBI custody
- The flight crew were later seen with smiles on their faces after finally touching down at LAX
- The commotion caused a mother on the plane to drop her baby, witnesses said
A Virgin Atlantic flight traveling from London to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City after a passenger became unruly, DailyMail.com can disclose.
Flight VS 141 – which was carrying approximately 264 passengers – was due to land in LA at 3.30pm local time but eventually touched down on the West Coast shortly before 8pm after the unscheduled stop in Utah.
The flight crew were later seen with smiles on their faces after they touched down at LAX.
Sources told DailyMail.com that a baby was injured in the melee – sparked when a passenger William Stephen Hayes, a UK resident, tried to storm the cockpit but was stopped by other passengers and crew members.
Hayes, 39, was arrested upon landing in Salt Lake City and is now in FBI custody.
A law enforcement source said: ‘A passenger onboard became unruly and fought several passengers while attempting to move towards the cockpit.
‘During the fight, a mom dropped her baby causing injury. They eventually got him under control and handcuffed the guy, and diverted to [Salt Lake City] for police to enter the plane and take him into custody.’
Police said in a statement that they could not confirm if he attempted to break into the cockpit.
British passenger William Stephen Hayes, 39, became unruly on a Virgin Atlantic flight traveling from London to Los Angeles Tuesday
The commotion allegedly caused a woman to drop her baby, and marines on board the flight had to take action and restrain the unruly passenger
The atmosphere was tense at Heathrow, London before the plane departed, with passengers waiting in a two-hour security line.
Hayes was seated in the Economy cabin when he got aggressive on the flight and reportedly faced-off with flight attendants on three occasions.
He fell asleep at one point but soon woke up and started rampaging around the plane.
Things got worse when he kept on drinking throughout the trip, eventually taking out his anger on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner windows.
But the British man, who was traveling with his family, hadn’t counted on a group of marines aboard flight VS141.
The marines cut his rampage short when they jumped on top of him, witnesses said, luckily for the other passengers.
‘It took a good while to get him to sit back down and resolve it,’ said one observer. ‘Then a few hours later it happened again and I thought to myself, ”This may not end well.”
‘Later he had fallen asleep but woke up ready to go again and that’s when he started getting physical. There were a couple of US Marines who piled in on him.
‘He was sitting in the back and he got handcuffed right there.’
Stock photo: Passengers blamed the chaos at Heathrow for creating a hostile atmosphere. (Pictured: Heathrow on June 27)
HEATHROW: Photo of left luggage at baggage reclaim in Heathrow Terminal 3 earlier in July
Hayes then started complaining that he couldn’t feel his fingers after they handcuffed him.
Police took him into custody, taking him off the aircraft with his family in Salt Lake City and the plane continued on to Los Angeles, with the tantrum delaying the flight by four hours.
‘The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behavior that compromises this,’ said Virgin Atlantic in a statement.
Other passengers blamed the chaos at Heathrow for creating a hostile atmosphere.
‘I was there for five hours and barely made my flight. People were not happy, people were very agitated,’ said one. ‘I’ve never been on a flight like that, there were so many screaming kids and irritated parents.’
‘The flight attendants seemed edgy from the beginning, I think right now the whole industry is not right. Heathrow was at limit numbers.’
The US Attorney is expected to file formal charges on Wednesday.