A man who allegedly threatened to blow up a passenger plane during a British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles could face up to two decades in federal prison.
Kevin Mosele, of Kihei, Hawaii, was arrested by the FBI after the flight landed at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday and charged with interference with a flight crew, which carries a maximum 20 year jail sentence.
The 20-year-old is alleged to have told the authorities that he had consumed a number of drinks before boarding the aeroplane, ABC News reported, citing the criminal complaint.
The complaint reportedly stated that Mosele threatened several members of the crew who questioned his behaviour, saying: “I am going to f****** kill you. I am going to open this door.
“I am going to set off a bomb.”
A flight attendant told the FBI he “seemed to be intoxicated” and another member of staff found two small wine bottles and two small whiskey bottles near Mosele’s seat, which had not been purchased onboard.
The plane’s captain warned Mosele about his conduct but he allegedly responded with mockery and dared the captain to divert the flight.
Mosele was subsequently handcuffed and restrained by four flight attendants - but he reportedly continued to struggle, spitting on two of them.
According to the criminal complaint, he said: “You better let me out or I am going to kill you and open the aircraft door.
“I will find you on Facebook and kill you.”
Craig Austin, who was on board the flight with his wife, did not witness Mosele’s reported threats but saw him being restrained.
“The first thing I knew about it was when I saw a woman in quite a bit of distress being ushered down the aisle by one of the flight attendants," Mr Austin said.
“Then they made an announcement that this incident had taken place.
“The guy was strapped to a chair with about four people around him.”
He said Mosele was making what could best be described as “growling, guttural noises”.
Mr Austin, who was travelling to go on holiday, explained that the plane was one of the new Airbus models with two levels and that the incident took place on the smaller, upper deck about two to three hours into the flight.
“At one point they drew a curtain around him and some of the in-flight services were shut down,” he said.
When the plane landed the passengers were required to stay on board while Mosele was escorted off by the authorities.
“He looked like a skinny young kid in a vest,” Mr Austin said.
He added that the BA crew had managed the situation brilliantly.
“I did feel anxious but there was never a stage where I was fearful of my safety.”
Mosele allegedly admitted to threatening the flight attendants and apologised while speaking to FBI agents. He said: “It's all my fault.”
“I'm mad at myself.”
He claimed he had been engaged in conversation and joking with the female flight attendants before he was approached about his behaviour, according to the complaint.
Mosele appeared in federal court on Tuesday, where he was freed on $10,000 (£5,800) bail. His arraignment was scheduled for 4 August.