Two men from Manchester, England, face federal charges after the plane they were on was diverted Monday night to Bangor International Airport due to their unruly behavior and alleged assault on a flight attendant.
Once on the ground, one of the men allegedly got into a fist fight with a passenger, according to the FBI.
Anthony Joseph James Kirby and Damien Jake Murphy, both 36, are charged with one count each of interference with flight crew members and attendants and assault in a special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.
A third man was removed from the plane, but was not charged. He is not identified in court documents.
The TUI Airways plane, which was traveling from Cancun, Mexico, to Manchester, England, landed in Bangor at about 10 p.m. Monday after taking off five hours earlier, according to the complaint. There were 328 passengers and 10 crew members on board.
“During the flight the men became loud and disruptive,” the FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor said. “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 behavior caused the flight crew to change seats.”
Flight attendants refused to serve the trio alcohol, but one of them retrieved a bottle of alcohol from a carry-on bag and the men drank from it, according to the affidavit. The pilot gave the men numerous warnings over the public address system that the plane would be diverted if they did not follow flight attendants’ instructions.
Murphy allegedly pushed a flight attendant who tried to de-escalate the situation while the plane was in the air. Once the plane landed, Kirby attacked the passenger sitting three seats in front of him, the affidavit said.
Kirby and Murphy made their first court appearances Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison. The men agreed to be held without bail until their cases can be resolved.
The U.S. attorney’s office for Maine, which is prosecuting the case, asked that both men be held without bail until their cases are resolved because they live outside the country.
They are the first defendants to be charged in federal court in Bangor in 2023.
If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the interference with flight crew charge and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on the assault charge.