British Nationals Plead Guilty to Interference with Flight Crew, Assault on Flight Diverted to BGR
BANGOR, Maine: Two men from Manchester, England pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bangor today to interference with a flight crew and assault. The charges stem from an incident on a TUI Airways flight that diverted to Bangor International Airport (BGR) last month.
According to court records, Anthony Joseph James Kirby, 36, and Damien Jake Murphy, 36, were passengers aboard a TUI Airways flight traveling from Cancun, Mexico to Manchester, England on January 2, 2023. While the flight was in U.S. airspace, the FAA received a report that two passengers had repeatedly interfered with members of the flight crew and flight attendants. After repeated warnings from the captain, the flight diverted to BGR with agents and officers from the FBI, Federal Air Marshal Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Bangor Police Department responding.
The investigation revealed that Kirby and Murphy had become upset after being told they would not be served any more alcohol. The pair then acquired a large bottle of alcohol from their carry-on luggage and continued to drink, becoming increasingly intoxicated. Despite repeated warnings, the two men continued to be belligerent, including using racial slurs. At one point Murphy assaulted a flight attendant, and Kirby assaulted a passenger. TUI Airways LTD incurred $26,589 in costs and expenses due to the unscheduled landing at BGR.
Kirby and Murphy each face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release for the interference charge. For the assault charges, they face up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and one year of supervised release. The men will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.
The FBI, Federal Air Marshal Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Bangor Police Department investigated the case.
Edited 03/15/23 to correct Bangor International Airport IATA code to BGR
Joel Casey, Assistant United States Attorney (207-945-0373)