Two British tourists face federal charges in the US after allegedly starting a drunken brawl on a TUI flight home from the holiday paradise of Cancun.
The flight, bound for Manchester, was diverted to Bangor International Airport after a rowdy disturbance on board.
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.
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A third man was removed from the plane along with Kirby and Murphy, but he has not been charged. He is not identified in court documents.
Flight attendants had refused to serve alcohol to the group, but one of them reportedly retrieved a bottle of alcohol from a carry-on bag and the men drank from it.
An FBI report on the incident reads:: “During the flight the men became loud and disruptive.
“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 behaviour caused the flight crew to change seats.”
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Murphy is alleged to have pushed a flight attendant who tried to de-escalate the situation. After the plane landed at Bangor, Kirby is said to have attacked the passenger sitting three seats in front of him.
Kirby and Murphy made their first court appearances yesterday, January 3, before US Magistrate Judge John Nivison.
The U.S. attorney’s office for Maine, which is prosecuting the case, asked that both men are foreign nationals, they should be held without bail until their cases are resolved.
The two accused have reportedly agreed not to apply for bail.
If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (£200,000) on the charge of interference with flight crew and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 (£82k) on the assault charge.
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