Jerry Ba Nguyen, 24, of San Jose has been charged with allegedly interfering with crew members on Flight No. 2542 that departed Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County early Thursday morning, which made an emergency landing at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas. Courtesy photo from the Lubbock County jail.
A San Jose man who allegedly made threats and exhibited unruly behavior on an American Airlines flight that left Southern California on Thursday was arrested in Texas where he appeared in federal court Friday.
Jerry Ba Nguyen, 24, has been charged with allegedly interfering with crew members on Flight No. 2542 that departed Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County early Thursday morning. The flight made an emergency landing at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, to remove him from the plane, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Texas.
Nguyen appeared in the 364th District Court in Lubbock when he was detained until he’s scheduled for a detention hearing, federal prosecutors said. Online Lubbock County jail records indicate he’s from San Jose, though federal prosecutors identify the man as a Las Vegas resident. Nguyen remains in custody and will be held for the U.S. Marshal Service, according to online jail records.
Flight attendants first noticed Nguyen who appeared agitated as he walked to the front of the plane as it was about to depart from Ontario and were able to calm him down before takeoff, prosecutors said.
Once the plane was on its way to the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, Nguyen made suicidal statements and muttered that someone stole his SIM card from his phone, according to prosecutors. Nguyen also said he wasn’t friends with police and the federal government was to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, they said.
Crew members repeatedly asked Nguyen to stay seated, but he refused, also kicking and banging on the cockpit door as the plane was making its final approach, prosecutors said.
The flight crew sought help from other passengers to physically restrain Nguyen, who was placed in flex cuffs given by attendants, according to prosecutors.
The captain announced an emergency on board and safely landed in Lubbock, roughly 300 miles west of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, where Nguyen was taken off the plane and placed in custody, prosecutors said.
The flight left Ontario shortly before 1:30 a.m. and landed at Lubbock around 5:15 a.m. CDT. The plane had 142 passengers, an infant and six crew members on the flight when it left Southern California, according to American Airline officials. The plane then continued to Dallas an hour behind its originally scheduled arrival time.
Nguyen has been charged with knowingly attempting to interfere with duties of a flight crew member or attendant, assaulting and intimidating the flight attendant or flight crew member by not following their instructions and attempting to force entry into the cockpit, prosecutors said. If convicted of interfering with a flight crew, Nguyen faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, they said.
A passenger on an American Airlines flight has been charged with making a terroristic threat, causing the flight to divert Thursday morning, officials say.
Jerry Nguyen, 24, is jailed in Lubbock County, Texas, after he allegedly began banging on the cockpit door on Flight 2542 from Ontario, California, to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Another passenger on the plane told NBC 5 the man was acting strange and suddenly got out of his seat, went to the cockpit and began yelling. Flight attendants tried to calm the man, but then several nearby passengers forced the man to the ground and held him.
The Boeing 737 landed in Lubbock at 5:17 a.m. Passengers said police escorted the man off the plane.
Airline officials said the remaining 142 passengers and one infant departed on a flight from Lubbock about an hour later. The flight arrived at D/FW Airport at 7:12 a.m.
Nguyen, of San Jose, California, did not have an attorney listed with his booking information Thursday afternoon.