- Passengers helped crew to restrain a 33-year-old man on an American Airlines flight on Wednesday.
- Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33, has been charged with one count of interference with flight crew members.
- He has been permanently banned from flying with the airline.
Passengers on an American Airlines plane helped cabin crew restrain a man after he allegedly punched a flight attendant in the back of the head on Wednesday, officials said.
A Department of Justice news release disclosed that passengers aboard the flight to Los Angeles airport helped to apprehend Alexander Tung Cuu Le after he was seen striking the flight attendant.
An FBI affidavit said Le was then moved to another row over safety concerns and had his hands and legs cuffed. Le continuously unbuckled his seatbelt, leading crew members to further restrain him with seatbelt extenders.
The 33-year-old from Westminster in Orange County, California was detained upon landing at LAX and taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Investigation because the incident occurred in the air.
Le was charged with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, the DOJ said.
He appeared in court in Los Angeles on Thursday, but the matter was adjourned until Monday morning for a detention hearing and he remained in custody.
According to the DoJ release, Le reportedly began to act erratically shortly after departing Los Cabos in Mexico, loitering away from his seat and making gestures toward crew that were implied as threats of violence.
After assaulting the flight attendant, Le fled toward the back of the plane where he was apprehended by several passengers near an exit row, the DoJ stated.
The FBI affidavit stated that the flight attendant seen being struck by Le was left unable to carry out their normal duties and was taken to hospital after the flight landed.
“Additionally, the crew of AA 377 had to focus on restraining Le, which interfered with their duties and reduced their ability to provide service to over 100 passengers,” it said.
Even after Le was restrained, the crew was still concerned about his behavior. One flight attendant was “shaking so much that she had difficulty performing her duties” and stated that the flight was “the longest hour and 58 minutes of my life,” according to the affidavit.
American Airlines has banned Le from its flights.
“The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future, and we will work closely with law enforcement in their investigation,” AA said in a statement Thursday.
American Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for additional comment about the incident.