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Passengers who got into ‘drunken brawl’ on Tui flight face federal charges

Two men could face up to 20 years in jail

Helen Coffey
Monday 09 January 2023 11:25 GMT
The incident occurred on a Tui flight
The incident occurred on a Tui flight (PA Archive)

Two passengers who engaged in a “drunken brawl” on a Tui flight now face federal charges in the US.

Anthony Kirby and Damien Murphy, both 36, allegedly started fighting onboard a 1 January flight from Cancun, Mexico to Manchester in the UK, with the altercation forcing the pilots to divert to Bangor, Maine.

Both face charges of interference with flight crew members and assault in a special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.

Although cabin crew reportedly refused to serve the group the men were part of any alcoholic drinks, one of the passengers allegedly pulled out a bottle of alcohol from a carry-on bag and they drank from that.

“During the flight the men became loud and disruptive,” reads a Federal Bureau of Investigation report, reports the Mirror.

“While the aircraft was over Florida, Kirby, Murphy and the third man made racist comments to the crew and passengers while filming their interactions with the crew and the other passengers with their cameras. The behaviour caused the flight crew to change seats.”

Murphy also allegedly pushed a flight attendant who tried to intervene, while Kirby was accused of attacking another passenger who was sitting three rows in front after the plane had landed on Bangor.

Both men appeared in court on 3 January in front of US Magistrate Judge John Nivison, with the US attorney’s Maine office, which is prosecuting the case, asking for them to be held without bail.

If convicted, the maximum penalty for their charges is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for interference with flight crew, and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for assault.

A Tui spokesperson said: “We can confirm that TOM193 diverted into Bangor, Maine due to disruptive passengers on board the flight from Cancun to Manchester on 1 January 2023.

“The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our highest priority, and we have a zero tolerance policy to disruptive behaviour on our flights. The customers involved were offloaded and the flight then continued its journey home shortly after.

“We take all security matters of this nature extremely seriously and will continue to assist the FBI with their investigation.”

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