A man who assaulted and threatened to kill a flight attendant on a United Airlines flight has been fined $50,000. The Tokyo-bound plane was forced to divert to Alaska.
Seksan Kumtong was sentenced to five years probation and ordered in federal court to repay the nearly $50,000 it cost to divert the plane to Anchorage and accommodate more than 200 passengers on board.
During last February’s incident, Kumtong, 52, reportedly had been acting strangely since boarding a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Narita, Japan, when a crew member observed him banging on the aircraft’s toilet doors. When a flight attendant tried to direct him to another toilet, Kumtong unsuccessfully tried to push her, reported Anchorage Daily News.
Kumtong eventually returned to his seat and fell asleep. After he awoke, he became agitated when he was denied another drink, according to the affidavit. He then began swearing loudly before striking a flight attendant in the face, and attempting to take the crew member to the floor of the aircraft.
At one point, Kumtong also yelled, “I will kill you,” according to an FBI affidavit obtained by the Anchorage Daily News.
Kumtong was restrained and the flight diverted to Alaska where he was removed from the aircraft.
“The flight landed safely and was met by local officials,” United wrote in a statement.
The man avoided jail time in part due to being severely diabetic, a condition which puts him at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.