A Tokyo-bound United Airlines flight was forced to return to Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 26 after a man became violent, shouting “there is no god” while resisting the flight crew, who eventually subdued the man with the help of some U.S. Marines aboard the flight.
The incident reportedly began after the man was trying to do Yoga in the back of the plane and the flight crew told him he couldn’t.
According to an FBI criminal complaint, Hyongtae Pae, a citizen of South Korea, had seated himself in the middle of the galley, located in the rear of the plane, reports ABC News.
When the the flight attendants requested he return to his seat, Pae became increasingly agitated.
According to The Associated Press, Pae told the FBI that he did not want to sit in his seat during the inflight meal service, so he went to the rear of the plane to meditate.
When he was told to return to his seat the situation escalated as Pae became verbally abusive and “pushed his wife because she was trying to make him stop,” the complaint said. “He felt that she was siding with the flight crew.”
It was at this time that a group of Marines based out of Marine Corps Base Okinawa, Japan, traveling on the flight were asked by the flight crew to intervene, reports Jeff Schogol of Marine Corps Times.
“The flight attendants explained that they had talked to the pilot and the pilot felt like the individual was a security risk and they wanted us to restrain him,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy Bell, one of four active-duty and two retired Marines on the plane.
Supplied with a set of flex cuffs by the crew, Bell and the other five Marines came up with a plan to cuff Pae.
When they approached Pae, he initially cooperated when he was shown the cuffs, but after a failed attempt to cuff Pae’s ankles, Bell and the other Marines ditched the plan and carried him back to his seat, reports the Marine Corps Times.
And that’s when things went from weird to worse.
“He started trying to head butt me ram me with his head,” said Bell. “As he was doing that, he began to spit at that same time.”
Bell pressed the cover of a headrest against the man's mouth to stop him from spitting, at which point Pae allegedly tried to bite him instead.
Pae later told the FBI that he had not realized it was illegal to disobey the flight attendant’s directions, adding that he had not been able to sleep for 11 days, reports ABC News.
Pae’s request to return to Korea was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang, who ordered Pae to be held on $25,000 bond and required that he remain on the island of Oahu, according to The Associated Press.