(Photo: United Airlines)
A United Airlines flight headed to Miami from Newark, New Jersey, made an unexpected stop in Charleston, South Carolina, after a man on board bit another passenger, according to a report from the Charleston County Aviation Authority Police Department.
Police responded to gate A-2 at the airport when the plane landed early after a “report of someone’s ear being bit off” according to the report, provided by spokesperson Spencer Pryor.
United confirmed the flight landed early due to the disturbance and referred additional question to local police.
“On Wednesday, United flight 728 from Newark to Miami diverted to Charleston, South Carolina due to a disruptive passenger on board,” United said in a statement provided by Robert Einhorn, airline spokesperson. “Law enforcement officials met the aircraft upon landing.”
The flight landed at 10:10 a.m. local time and taxied to the gate, where it was met by police. On the plane, responding officers observed “the suspect,” identified as John Yurkovich, from New Jersey, with his hands tied behind his back with zip ties and a belt, according to the police report.
Passengers seated in front of Yurkovich were asked to disembark and he was taken in for questioning.
One passenger, identified as “Victim #1,” was seated next to Yurkovich. The passenger said Yurkovich seemed “agitated” after a trip to the bathroom, according to the report. Yurkovich asked the flight crew for water and got up to retrieve “what appeared to be pills” from a carry-on bag, the passenger said.
Then, Yurkovich, back in his seat, began to “scream and thrash around,” the passenger said.
Yurkovich hit Victim #1 with a “closed fist,” breaking their glasses, according to the police report. Surrounding passengers attempted to restrain Yurkovich and Victim #1 sustained another injury: a laceration to the ear.
Then, a passenger seated behind Yurkovich attempted to intervene and was struck, according to the report. That passenger told police he thought his nose might be broken. Another passenger who was seated next to Victim #1, told authorities Yurkovich punched him in the “temporal” region but was not seriously injured.
A medical doctor who was also a passenger told authorities he injected Yurkovich with Benadryl to subdue him, according to the report.
Police arrested Yurkovich a charges of “possession with intent to distribute methamphetamines” after finding 1.5 grams of “white crystal substance” in his pocket that later tested to be methamphetamines, according to police.
The FBI also has pending charges against Yurkovich, according to the report.
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