So much for the friendly skies. A passenger on an IcelandAir flight was reportedly so drunk that the crew had to tape him to his seat with duct tape and zip ties to subdue him.
A Reddit user who goes by the name Mezane posted the incredible photo of the subdued man and offered a first-hand account of the what led to the duct tape confinement.
“He drank an entire bottle of some duty free alcohol. Then he tried grabbing the women who were sitting next him screaming that we’re going to crash,” Mezane wrote.
“Finally he started chocking [sic] a guy next to him and that’s when a huge crowd restrained him and tied him up. This was 2 hours into a 6 hour flight.”
Andy Ellwood, the man who posted the picture and the description, said in an interview Friday that it was taken by a friend of his on the flight.
He declined to identify his friend, and said that the person did not want to speak about it publicly. But Mr. Ellwood said his friend said that, a few hours into the flight, the man “became belligerent and started to hurt other passengers.”
Based on the photo, the flight crew did an excellent job of restraining the man, but liability issues could arise. Commenters on the Reddit post note that had the man vomited, he could have choked, and that he would not be able to exit the plane in the event of an emergency.
Gudjon Arngrimsson, the airline’s vice president of corporate communications,confirmed to Iceland newspaper Visir that a passenger on an Icelandair flight had to be restrained with the help of other passengers Thursday night.
While Arngrimsson explained the man was subdued because of his dangerous behavior, including threatening the other passengers and flight crew, he did not detail the extent of the circumstances that led to the man’s restraint. He also refused to comment on the photo.
A spokesman for Icelandair confirmed that a passenger was restrained for safety reasons and arrested after the plane landed at JFK. The man’s nationality is unknown; he is a citizen of the world.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey confirmed the incident.
“A 46-year-old man was taken into custody last night at JFK off an Icelandic flight and then brought to the hospital because Port Authority police determined he was intoxicated,” said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the port authority.
“He was not charged … he’s free to go.”
According to the Huff Post, this is not the first time an airline passenger has had to be restrained during a flight. In September, Arash Durrani was tackled and restrained with belts by other travelers and crew members after he behaved aggressively and grabbed women on a United Airlines flight.
Clayton F. Osbon, a former JetBlue pilot, was also forcibly subdued during a July flight after having a mid-air breakdown. Ultimately, Osbon, who was indicted on the charge of interfering with a flight crew, was found not guilty by a federal judge by reason of insanity.