Last updated: 09:45 AM ET, Tue February 02 2016

Unruly Passenger Tries To Exit JetBlue Flight in Midair

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | February 02, 2016

Unruly Passenger Tries To Exit JetBlue Flight in Midair

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

A new year but an old story – another unruly passenger disrupts an airplane flight.

A Reston, Va. man was arrested for attacking a passenger and two flight attendants on Sunday during a JetBlue Airways flight from Washington D.C to Jacksonville, Fla., according to Reuters News Service.

Joseph Sharkey, 36, also tried to open a door on the flight and was subdued by flight crew and fellow passengers. He was arrested on federal charges of assault or intimidation of a flight crew when the flight landed safely in Jacksonville. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to a statement released Monday by U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III.

READ MORE: Six Disorderly Passengers Force Emergency Landing at Texas Airport

Sharkey’s actions were apparently precipitated by four alcoholic drinks, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after which he tried to put a fellow passenger in a headlock. The man was sitting behind Sharkey but it is unknown what their dispute centered around. He then shoved one flight attended who ordered him back to his seat, kicked another flight attendant in the groin, and tried to open an exit door before finally being overwhelmed by flight crew and other passengers.

READ MORE: Pilot Sticks the Landing While Punching an 82-Year-Old Passenger

Sharkey also apparently told the crew that he was a federal air marshal and the flight crew was under investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Sharkey still continued to "act in a belligerent fashion" according to the report, and had to be watched during landing at Jacksonville International Airport. He was immediately taken into custody and will appear before a judge on Wednesday for his formal hearing.


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