Belfast Telegraph

You're all going to die: Chaos at 35,000 feet as drunken Belfast passenger is restrained

By Debra Douglas

Shocked holidaymakers told today how a drunken airline passenger from Belfast was wrestled to the floor by crew and passengers after he shouted "You're all going to die" and tried to open the plane doors at 35,000 feet.

Shocked holidaymakers told today how a drunken airline passenger from Belfast was wrestled to the floor by crew and passengers after he shouted "You're all going to die" and tried to open the plane doors at 35,000 feet.

The jet was heading from the Mexican resort of Cancun to Manchester when Rafal Krawczyk (32), who has a Polish passport but an address in Belfast, leaped up from his seat and suddenly attacked one of the cabin stewards.

A woman sitting just a few rows behind said she heard the attacker scream "You're all going to die" as a scuffle broke out in one of the aisles.

Keeley Flint, from Derbyshire, said: "I saw the man swing at one of the cabin stewards. There was a scuffle, then people were trying to strap him down.

"He got up again and there was more fisticuffs. He said 'You're all going to die'.

"I don't know what would have happened if those people hadn't grabbed him. He was more than six feet tall. I don't think the cabin crew could have stopped him on their own," she told the Manchester Evening News.

Four passengers, including an off-duty police officer and a nightclub doorman, pinned him down as he screamed and kicked out.

Gary Jackson, a 28-year- old nightclub doorman, from Sunderland, said: "It started when he began grabbing at one of the stewards and being abusive. He just wouldn't stop.

"Then he threw one of the stewards out of the way and started kicking at an exit door. He was just booting it.

"Four of us grabbed him and tried to hold him, but he was very strong. Women and children were screaming.

"But the cabin crew gave us some restraining belts and eventually we managed to get them on him.

"It was very frightening. This is only the second time I've flown."

Grandmother Joyce Spencer, from Southport, who was travelling with her daughter, son-in-law and one-year-old grandson, said: "It was terrifying. I was shaking. I saw him knock a steward's glasses off. They had a terrible time trying to hold him down."

It is thought the man sneaked a personal supply of spirits on board in a Pepsi bottle.

The captain of the jet then diverted the Thomsonfly Boeing 767, carrying 232 people, to Sanford Airport in Orlando, where FBI officers frogmarched the man down the steps.

The remaining passengers had to spend the night in a hotel before being flown to Birmingham yesterday. They were then put on a coach and arrived at Manchester Airport early today.

A spokesman for the FBI said Krawczyk had been charged with interfering with a flight crew and will appear before the federal courthouse in Orlando on Tuesday."

A spokesman for Thomsonfly said the attacker had tried to smash up a toilet on the aircraft during the air-rage incident.

He said: "Three crew with the help of some passengers managed to control the gent and keep him down.

"The captain took the decision for the safety of all the passengers to take the aircraft into Sanford.

"I don't know what has happened to him since, but several customers who witnessed the incident have given reports to the police."

The flight which was due to arrive at Manchester at 7.45am yesterday arrived at Birmingham International Airport at 2.45am today.

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