Unruly passenger forces flight from London to Los Angeles to divert to Salt Lake City
William Stephen Hayes, 39, of the United Kingdom, was later arrested at Salt Lake City airport on suspicion of being violent and unruly on an international flight, Salt Lake City police said in a statement.
Hayes was arrested for interference with a flight crew and assault by battery in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.
CNN has not been able to determine whether Hayes has obtained an attorney. He was being held in a Salt Lake County jail, police said Wednesday.
Witness statements revealed that throughout the flight “Hayes was loud, disruptive, threatening, and abusive to fellow passengers and crew members,” according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Utah.
“At some point during the flight, Hayes assaulted a male passenger seated in front of him, grabbing the passenger’s shirt, attempting to strike him and grabbing his throat,” the documents say. Hayes also spat at and attempted to bite a passenger, the documents show.
“Hayes was restrained by the passenger with the assistance of another passenger and crew members, and was handcuffed,” the court documents state. “While being restrained, Hayes continued to fight and be violent, and attempted to kick the windows of the plane.”
An investigation was still ongoing Wednesday and will be forwarded to federal prosecutors, police said.
After landing in Salt Lake City, the flight continued to Los Angeles and landed about four hours after its scheduled arrival, Virgin Atlantic said.
“The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we do not tolerate any behavior that compromises this,” the airline’s statement read. “We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with anyone who could impact that experience for others.”
CNN’s Jason Hanna and Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.