SAN JOSE (BCN) — A San Jose man who allegedly made threats and exhibited unruly behavior on an American Airlines flight that left Southern California on Thursday was arrested in Texas where he appeared in federal court Friday.
Jerry Ba Nguyen, 24, has been charged with allegedly interfering with crew members on Flight No. 2542 that departed Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County early Thursday morning and made an emergency landing at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Texas.
Online Lubbock County jail records indicate he’s from San Jose, though federal prosecutors identify the man as a Las Vegas resident.
Nguyen remains in custody and will be held for the U.S. Marshal Service, according to online jail records.
Nguyen appeared in the 364th District Court in Lubbock Friday morning when he was detained until he’s scheduled for a detention hearing, federal prosecutors said.
Flight attendants first noticed Nguyen who appeared agitated as he walked to the front of the plane as it was about to depart from Ontario and were able to calm him down before takeoff, prosecutors said.
Once the plane was on its way to the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, Nguyen made suicidal statements and muttered that someone stole his SIM card from his phone, according to prosecutors.
The 24-year-old man also said he wasn’t friends with police and the federal government was to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prosecutors said.
Crew members repeatedly asked Nguyen to stay seated, but he refused, according to prosecutors.
The 24-year-old man also kicked and banged on the cockpit door as the plane was making its final approach, prosecutors said.
The flight crew sought help from other passengers to physically restrain Nguyen, who was placed in flex cuffs given by attendants, according to prosecutors.
The captain announced an emergency on board and safely landed in Lubbock, roughly 300 miles west of the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, where Nguyen was taken off the plane and placed in custody, prosecutors said.
The flight left Ontario shortly before 1:30 a.m. and landed at Lubbock around 5:15 a.m. CDT, according to American Airline officials.
The disruptive passenger was taken off the plane that continued to Dallas an hour behind its originally scheduled arrival time, according to airline officials.
There were 142 passengers, an infant and six crew members on flight when it left from Southern California, airline officials said.
The 24-year-old man has been charged with knowingly attempting to interfere with duties of a flight crew member or attendant, assaulting and intimidating the flight attendant or flight crew member by not following their instructions and attempting to force entry into the cockpit, prosecutors said.
If convicted of interfering with a flight crew, Nguyen faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, according to prosecutors.