United Airlines flight to Newark diverted due to unruly passengers, FAA says

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, March 2, 2024
United flight to Newark stops due to unruly passenger
According to air traffic audio, flight crew members reported a level three threat, which is life threatening behavior.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A United flight from London to Newark diverted to Bangor on Friday after the crew reported disturbance from two passengers, according to the FAA.

Two intoxicated passengers deemed a Level 2 threat -- which means life-threatening behavior -- forced the diversion.

Alexander Michael Dominic MacDonald was arrested on the plane, according to the FBI.

The captain of the plane told FBI officers that he received reports MacDonald was being "unruly and physically combative" and that he could not be restrained. The captain also decided that MacDonald's conduct was a threat to the safety of the crew and passengers, and continuing to Newark was too great of a risk.

The plane landed safely at Bangor International Airport in Maine around 10 a.m. There were 150 passengers and 10 crew members on board.

The chief flight attendant on the plane heard MacDonald arguing loudly with his girlfriend, according to documents from United. The attendant approached him and asked him to lower his voice. A few minutes later, the attendant heard him yelling loudly from the back galley and tried to calm MacDonald down, but he continued to be aggressive, asking the attendant if he would like to "'Have a problem?" threatening to "Mess up the plane," and placing his hands on the purser's shoulders as he backed him into the corner. With the assistance of a passenger, the attendant managed to get MacDonald restrained in flex cuffs. He continued to attempt to calm MacDonald but he could not be calmed or restrained.

The flight has already re-departed for Newark and McDonald and the other passenger will be banned from future United flights while the airline reviews the matter, United Airlines said in a statement.

United also said the security threat level was Level 2, not Level 3.

According to the Bangor police department, CBP and the FBI are handling the investigation.

"The FBI responded to an incident aboard United Airlines Flight #883 that diverted to Bangor, Maine, today, the FBI said in a statement. "An individual was detained and arrested on scene after consulting with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Maine. This incident has no nexus to terrorism. Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, no further details can be provided at this time."


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