Woman in custody accused of assaulting Federal Air Marshal on London to Salt Lake City flight

Apr 20, 2018, 11:16 PM | Updated: 11:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A woman is in custody for allegedly striking and beating a Federal Air Marshal on a flight from London to Salt Lake City.

Sarah Beach

It happened on a direct flight Thursday afternoon. On Friday, Sarah Beach had her first appearance in federal court.

Passengers on the plane said they’re relieved things didn’t get worse mid-flight.

According to Martin and Karen Nicholls, the 11-hour flight started off pretty uneventful, until the fasten seat belt sign went off.

“A lady that was in the very back of the plane literally sprinted past, and I was amazed at how fast she was running,” Martin Nicholls said.

His wife, Karen was in the restroom and came out to find a scene of chaos, with flight attendants attempting to regain control.

“She said, ‘Don’t move, stay still’ and I must have looked so alarmed,” said Karen

That’s when Martin said he stood up to help.

“As the woman started running again, one of the flight attendants shouted to stop the woman, and as she came by I just grabbed her and stopped her instantly,” Martin said.

According to court documents, the trouble didn’t stop there. Beach is accused of throwing coffee at passengers, tipping a drink cart and assaulting a Federal Air Marshal on board.

“When it first happens, you don’t know if it’s a hijacker or a terrorist,” Martin said.

In court Friday, prosecutors said this isn’t the first time Beach has had problems on a plane. Last June, a complaint was filed against Beach for allegedly attempting to open the emergency exit door on a flight to Texas while the plane was mid-flight.

That incident ended without any injuries. It’s something passengers on Thursday were grateful for as well.

“I actually felt quite sorry for her,” Martin said. “You could tell she was suffering from something.”

A federal judge ordered Beach to undergo a mental health evaluation before the court moves forward with charges.

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Woman in custody accused of assaulting Federal Air Marshal on London to Salt Lake City flight