HOUSTON A belligerent passenger who caused a Houston-bound Continental flight to abruptlyreturn to Portland Tuesday afternoon is now facing charges.
Yazeed Mohammed-Abunayyan was charged with interfering with the operation of an aircraft in federal court Wednesday.
According to court documents, Abunayyan, who is from Saudi Arabia, became upset shortly after boarding Continental Flight 1113 because he was not seated next to his traveling companion.
Shortly after the flight took off, Abunayyan allegedly tried to light an electronic cigarette. When a female flight attendant asked him to stop, court documents state that Abunayyan ignored her, then started yelling and cursing. When the flight attendant left her seat and approached him, Abunayyan reportedly tried to punch her.
Abunayyan also allegedly hit or tried to hit several passengers who came to the flight attendant s aid, all while speaking or singing about Osama bin Laden and professing his hatred for women.
He was screaming, Allah is great, Allah is great, said Nancy Haywood, a passenger. And it kind of worries you when that happens, but believe me, there were enough men to hold him down.
Witnesses said several men helped restrainAbunayyan while the flight attendant ran to the back of the plane to get plastic wrist and ankle restraints.
Every guy that was in my area was ready to go, said Mark Foster, another passenger. It was not even a thought. You can tell buckles were off and people were already leaning toward the aisles.
The flight returned to Portland, and Abunayyan and his traveling companion were escorted off the plane.
But that outburst wasn t even Abunayyan s first brush with the law this week.
According to the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper, Abunayyan was arrested on Sunday in Oregon for DUI and several other charges after investigators said he hit two patrol cars and nearly ran over a pedestrian during a police chase.
Abunayyan made his initial court appearance on the federal charges in Portland Wednesday.