Off-duty FF helped subdue woman who assaulted flight attendants
The off-duty responder sat with the passenger following the incident and helped keep her calm until the plane landed in Nashville
The Charlotte Observer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A 43-year-old woman was reportedly asked to change her seat from the exit row on a plane heading to Tennessee from Florida two days after Thanksgiving.
She tried to leave the aircraft mid-flight instead, prosecutors said.
Amanda Renee Henry, of Lebanon, Tenn., was accused of disrupting other passengers before being asked to move. She then assaulted multiple crew members trying to restrain her before an off-duty firefighter stepped in to help, prosecutors said.
Henry is now charged with interfering with a flight crew in a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee said in a news release.
She surrendered to law enforcement the same day.
“The prosecution of those who endanger the safety of airline passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants is a priority of this office,” U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin said in the release. “Those whose behavior disrupts or otherwise endangers the safety of persons on aircrafts should expect to face federal charges.”
Henry could not be reached by McClatchy News for comment, and information regarding her defense attorney was not immediately available.
Prosecutors said the incident occurred Nov. 27 on a Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee.
Henry “became disruptive and appeared to be intoxicated” on the flight, the government said, and passengers next to her asked to be relocated.
“Since Henry was seated next to an emergency exit, flight attendants decided for the safety of everyone on board to move Henry to another seat,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Henry refused, the government said, grabbing her carry-on bag instead and barreling toward the front of the plane.
“I’m getting off this plane,” she reportedly screamed.
The flight crew intercepted Henry before she reached the cabin door, according to prosecutors, who said she then began to “kick and hit the flight attendant” blocking her exit.
Henry is also accused of assaulting a second flight attendant trying to restrain her.
Once they succeeded, prosecutors said, an off-duty firefighter who happened to be a passenger on the flight sat with Henry and kept her calm until the plane landed in Nashville. She was subsequently arrested by the Nashville Airport Department of Public Safety and charged with public intoxication.
Henry faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if she’s convicted.
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