Brit passenger 'grabbed man by throat and tried to bite him' on flight to US

28 July 2022, 12:19 | Updated: 28 July 2022, 12:46

The incident happened on a Virgin Atlantic flight travelling between London and Los Angeles
The incident happened on a Virgin Atlantic flight travelling between London and Los Angeles. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A British man has been accused of grabbing a passenger in front of him by the throat and trying to hit and bite him on a flight to the US, according to officials.

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William Hayes, 39, was arrested after the Virgin Atlantic flight was forced to land in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

He was charged with assault and interfering with the flight crew.

The plane had been travelling from London to Los Angeles.

Witnesses told authorities that after passengers and crew members restrained and handcuffed Hayes following the alleged assault, he still tried to fight with people nearby and kicked the plane's windows.

One witness told The Sun the passenger, who had reportedly been drinking, only stopped when US Marines travelling on the flight "piled on him".

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A criminal complaint filed with the court stated: "At one point during the flight, Hayes assaulted a male passenger seated in front of him, grabbing the passenger's shirt, attempting to hit him, and grabbing his throat.

"This action left visible marks on the assaulted passenger's neck. Hayes also spat on and attempted to bite this passenger.

"Hayes was restrained by the passenger with the assistance of another passenger and crew members, and was placed in handcuffs.

"While restrained, Hayes continued to fight and be abusive, and attempted to kick the windows of the aircraft."

Hayes was taken to the Salt Lake County Jail before the flight resumed its flight to Los Angeles.

Virgin said in a statement that "the safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don't tolerate any behaviour that compromises this".

"Our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others," a spokesperson added.

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