An airline passenger’s outburst on a Houston-bound plane where he shouted about Osama bin Laden and his hatred of women led to federal charges being filed Wednesday.
Yazeed Mohammed A. Abunayyan, 19, is charged with interfering with a flight crew, according to an indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
E-cigarettes, battery-operated devices that heat a nicotine solution to simulate tobacco smoking, are not prohibited by the Transportation Safety Administration – like tobacco cigarettes – on commercial planes. However, they are banned by Continental.
A physical outburst followed, the document states. Abunayyan yelled profanities and swung his fist at a flight attendant. He also allegedly hit and tried to hit several passengers. He spoke or sang about bin Laden and his hatred of women, the document states.
This behavior caused a flight attendant to deviate from safety protocols by unbuckling her restraints and leaving her seat during takeoff, causing the flight to return to its origin, the documents states. Other media reported that several passengers left their seats to assist the flight attendant and restrain Abunayyan.
“It almost made me cry to see how everyone responded,” passenger Jenna Wisher told Oregon station KATU News.
Abunayyan and his companion were booted from the plane and questioned, said Christen David, United Continental spokeswoman. FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said the other man was released. The flight continued to Houston.
Steele said Abunayyan was not charged as a terrorist suspect. He appeared in U.S. Magistrate Court in Oregon on Wednesday and has a hearing set for Friday in Portland.
Documents from the Jackson County jail in Oregon show that Abunayyan was in custody a day before the flight. He was booked for driving under the influence, criminal mischief, hit and run, attempting to elude police, assaulting a police officer and reckless endangering after a low-speed car chase in Ashland, Ore., over the weekend. He posted $6,000 bail and was released Monday.