Hawaii: A Japan-bound airplane returned to Hawaii because of a violent passenger who wanted to do yoga instead of sit in his seat, the FBI said.
The pilot of a United Airlines flight from Honolulu to Narita in Japan turned the plane around on 26 March after hearing that Hyongtae Pae was yelling at crew members and shoving his wife, the FBI said in a criminal complaint.
Pae told the FBI he didn’t want to sit in his seat during the meal service, so he went to the back of the plane to do yoga and meditate. He became angry when his wife and flight attendants told him to return to his seat.
“Pae pushed his wife because she was trying to make him stop,” the complaint said. “He felt that she was siding with the flight crew.”
He tried to headbutt and bite Marines who were passengers on the flight and were trying to force him back to his seat, assistant US attorney Darren Ching said at Pae’s detention hearing on Wednesday.
According to the complaint, he threatened to kill passengers and was yelling that there is no god.
Pae went into a rage because he felt the flight crew was ordering him around, Ching said. He suggested Pae shouldn’t be released because he was a danger to his wife, himself and others. Pae was on suicide watch at the Honolulu federal detention center, Ching said.
US magistrate judge Kevin Chang ordered that Pae be released on $25,000 bond, but with certain conditions including not leaving the island of Oahu and undergoing a mental health evaluation.
Chang denied a request to allow Pae to return home to South Korea, because that would involve getting on a plane again.
Outside court, defense attorney Jin Tae Kim said his client was a 72-year-old retired farmer who traveled from South Korea to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary with a holiday in Hawaii. It was the couple’s first trip to Hawaii.
Pae only recently took up yoga to help with anxiety, Kim said, adding that he was sleep-deprived during the vacation. Pae told the FBI he hadn’t been able to sleep in 11 days.