EXCLUSIVE: Flight attendant speaks out about on-board scuffle

December 6, 2011 2:50:24 PM PST
A JetBlue flight attendant is speaking out for the first time about the rowdy passenger who had to be taken down by an NYPD officer.

The incident happened on a flight from the Dominican Republic to JFK.

Elio Cabral says, "It started as a beautiful trip, it's just turns out it was difficult."

Cabral spoke exclusively to Kemberly Richardson and says never in his wildest dreams could he have predicted how Jet Blue flight 832 would end.

"Something was wrong, it's not normal for someone to act out that way," he said.

He's talking about Antonio Ynoa, who was in an aisle seat near the back of the plane.

But about an hour into the flight, Elio says he spotted the 22-year-old stumbling as he walked from the bathroom to his seat, asked if he was ok, to which Antonio said yes.

About 45 minutes later, Elio says the same man started banging on his armrest and once again he went to check it out.

Elio, says "He pushed me away and said mind your business, I said sir, I'm here to make sure you are ok."

And then, as trained, Elio notified the captain and kept an eye on Antonio, who again went to the bathroom.

That's when other passengers told Elio, the clearly agitated man, had been drinking rum from a duty free bottle.

Once Antonio returned to his seat, Elio says he asked about the alcohol and then says Antonio started cursing, threw a punch at Elio, who then tackled him.

"When I had him on the seat and asked for assistance from passengers so they could help me restrain him with handcuffs we have on the plane, that's when he proceeded to strike at me three times," he adds.

Elio says Antonio then tried to bite and head butt him.

What he didn't know was off duty NYPD officer Anibal Mercado and a military police officer were on board, helped cuff and hold Antonio in his seat until they landed.

"Don't know what level it would have escalated if the police officer and mpd wasn't on board but I am grateful they were," adds Elio.