Unruly passenger arrested after international flight diverted to SLC
SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested a 39-year-old United Kingdom man who’s accused of being violent and unruly during an international flight that was diverted to the Salt Lake City International Airport.
The Virgin Atlantic flight was traveling from London to Los Angeles when airport dispatch told the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Airport Division that the plane was being redirected mid-flight.
According to investigators, William Stephen Hayes got upset during the flight and became violent after flight crew members tried to maintain order.
Crew members and passengers immediately intervened and restrained Hayes, who allegedly assaulted the flight crew and at least one other passenger, which resulted in minor injuries.
Police said Hayes also kicked seats and windows on the aircraft, but no damage was found during an inspection at the airport.
After landing at SLC, officers from the SLCPD and U.S. Customs and Border Protection took Hayes into custody and transported him to the Salt Lake County Jail, where he was booked on a federal detention hold.
Police said the investigation and subsequent prosecution will be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.
The flight continued on to Los Angeles International Airport after a four-hour delay.
“The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behavior that compromises this. 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 any individuals that may impact that experience for others,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said.
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