One month after two Englishmen caused a plane to be diverted to Bangor International Airport because of their unruly and assaultive behavior, the pair pleaded guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court.
Anthony Joseph James Kirby and Damien Jake Murphy, both 36, of Manchester, England, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Bangor to one count each of interference with flight crew members and attendants and assault on a flight attendant and a passenger.
Their sentencing later this month is expected to be for time served and release to return to England, as others have been previously. They also could be ordered to pay fines and more than $26,500 in restitution to the airline for the BIA unscheduled landing fee.
A third man was also removed from the plane on Jan. 2, 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. on Jan. 2 after taking off five hours earlier, according to court documents. There were 328 passengers and 10 crew members on board.
During the flight the men became loud and disruptive, according to the prosecution’s version of events. When 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.
Flight attendants refused to serve the trio alcohol, but one of the men retrieved a bottle of alcohol from a carry-on bag and the men drank from it, court documents said. 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.
A flight attendant who tried to de-escalate the situation while the plane was in the air was assaulted by Murphy. Once the plane landed, Kirby attacked the passenger sitting three seats in front of him.
The men have been held without bail since their arrest.