Monday, July 6, 2015

Unruly passenger charged after plane forced to return to Philadelphia

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A disorderly passenger who forced a flight to London to return to Philadelphia International Airport overnight is facing federal charges for causing a disturbance on the plane.

Documents filed in federal court in Philadelphia say 40-year-old Robert John Coppack is charged with intimidation of a flight crew member and other offenses.

The U.S. Airways he was on flight left Philadelphia shortly after 10 p.m. The jet later turned around and landed back in Philadelphia around 1 a.m.

A criminal complaint says the California resident touched two female passengers "inappropriately;" the women told flight attendants that they didn't feel comfortable sitting next to him.

When an attendant told Coppack to stop touching other passengers, he "became aggressive and used vulgar language to her and the passengers around him," the complaint says.

Crew members had Coppack move to the rear of the plane, where he was restrained until the aircraft returned to Philadelphia.

He was "extremely intoxicated and verbally and physically aggressive" when he was removed from the plane, court records say, and was taken in custody.

The flight-tracking website FlightAware showed the plane took off again shortly after 3 a.m. and landed at Heathrow around 10 a.m.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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