Unruly passenger forces flight diversion to Salt Lake City

An international flight had to be diverted to Salt Lake City after a passenger allegedly became violent aboard the plane. 

Virgin Atlantic said in a statement that flight VS141 from London to Los Angeles on Tuesday had to stop in Salt Lake City due to a “disruptive passenger.”

The Salt Lake City Police Department said Wednesday in a statement that it had arrested a man on the flight after arriving to find crew members and passengers actively restraining a passenger.

Police said their preliminary investigation showed that the passenger had gotten upset in the middle of the flight and turned violent, allegedly assaulting the flight crew and one passenger while kicking at the plane windows and seats. 

Police identified the person arrested as William Stephen Hayes, who they said was a 39-year-old United Kingdom resident.

A check of the plane found no damage, and no serious injuries were sustained during the incident.

The flight was able to continue to Los Angeles and arrived four hours behind schedule. 

Hayes was taken to jail and booked on a federal detention hold. The investigation will be referred to the U.S. attorney’s office, according to the police 

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behaviour that compromises this. We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.