Woman Attacks Airline Cockpit Crew
Charlotte, N.C.
   
 
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A passenger on an American Airlines flight was charged Thursday after federal authorities accused her of attacking three crew members aboard the flight as it approached Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

The FBI charged Charlene Sarieann Harriott, 36, for interfering with a crew member and attendants during a flight Wednesday morning from Dallas/ Fort Worth to Charlotte. She was taken into custody Wednesday soon after the flight landed at its destination.

As the flight began to descend at the Charlotte airport, Harriott, who was seated at the rear of Flight 1033, reportedly ran toward the cockpit, according to a criminal complaint. Flight attendants were already on their seats to prepare for landing when the incident happened.

The attendants first ordered her to stop, however, when she didn’t, they gave chase down the aisle — just as the flight was touching down.

The crew eventually restrained her with duct tape and zip ties in the first-class section of the aircraft as the plane landed, but Harriott “became more aggressive and physically violent toward the flight crew,” according to the criminal complaint cited by the Charlotte Observer.

Harriott allegedly bit one attendant on the right forearm, puncturing the skin and thus causing it to bleed, according to the complaint. She then hit a second attendant in the right forearm and kicked a third attendant in the leg and abdomen. All the three flight attendants were sent to American Airlines’ onsite medical clinic for treatment once the flight landed. 

An arrest warrant was sealed, but court documents said Harriott was scheduled for an initial appearance before a federal magistrate to be held Thursday afternoon. She was being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail on three counts of assault and battery, and will remain there in custody until her detention hearing next week as ordered by a federal judge.

This is not the first time an airlines has faced an unruly passenger. In May 2017, an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii was escorted by two fighter jets after an unruly man was subdued by flight attendants and passengers, who used a drink cart to prevent him from getting to the front of the plane.

The man, identified as Anil Uskanil, 25, of Turkey, was duct-taped to his seat till the aircraft landed in Honolulu and federal agents boarded the plane to arrest him, a passenger in the aircraft told Chicago Tribune at the time.

"The flight attendants just were really heroic," passenger named Lee Lorenzen said. "By the time we landed and the FBI took him into custody, he was very mellow."

In another incident, in July 2017, a United Airlines flight was forced to turn around due to the presence of a disruptive passenger. The passenger reportedly ran toward the cockpit about 25 minutes into the 45-minute flight, while hitting the wall of the plane and yelling “We are all protected and loved! We are all protected and loved! This plane is going to land beautifully and kindly!” ABC 13 News reported at the time.

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