One man’s insane conduct led the Virgin Atlantic aircraft from London to Los Angeles to make an emergency stop in Salt Lake City on July 26th. According to a news statement from local police, William Stephen Hayes, 39, of the United Kingdom, was removed off the plane upon landing in Salt Lake City and detained on suspicion of disorderly and outright aggressive behavior aboard an international flight.
Flight VS141 landed in Utah’s capital at about 4:30 p.m. local time on July 26th, according to the flight monitoring website FlightAware. When Salt Lake City police and US Customs and Border Protection agents arrived at the airport, passengers and cabin staff were still restrained, Hayes. The flight, which was intended to last nearly 11 hours nonstop, went on to Los Angeles following the incident and landed four hours later than expected.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behavior that compromises this,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement relating to the incident. “We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us and our cabin crew is highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others.”
Hayes was arrested and continued to be belligerent while being transported to the Salt Lake City Metro Jail. According to the court document, he was hauled before a Utah District Court judge on July 27th and formally charged with one count of interference with a flight crew and a second count of assault by “hitting, beating, and injuring.”
“Witness statements revealed that throughout the flight Hayes was loud, disruptive, threatening and abusive to other passengers and crew members,” according to the court documents.
Hayes was placed on an immigration detainer and is due for a deportation hearing on August 3, according to a source.