A man who allegedly punched a flight attendant in the face, tried to open the cockpit door, broke free of restraints and again punched the same flight attendant has been charged with two federal crimes.
Ryan Cajimat, 21, of Hawaii was on a Delta Air Lines flight 478 from Honolulu to Seattle on Dec. 24 when he “became disruptive,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
He tried to open the cockpit door and then fought with flight attendants as they tried to stop him — punching, pushing and charging one, prosecutors said in court documents filed this week in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. According to records filed in the case and public reports, Cajimat became disruptive about two hours before the plane was scheduled to land at Sea-Tac International Airport.
Cajimat was restrained in plastic handcuffs with the help of another passenger, then broke free and punched the same attendant he’d hit before, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
He was restrained for the rest of the flight and removed from the plane on arrival in Seattle, according to the DOJ.
He has also been banned from Delta Air Lines, according to the DOJ.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued him a $52,500 fine, the largest since the agency announced in January that it would take a more aggressive action against passengers who refused to follow crew members’ instructions on commercial aircraft.
Federal law prohibits individuals from interfering or physically assaulting aircraft crew or others on the aircraft. Those found in violation receive enforcement letters from the FAA and have 30 days to respond to the allegations.
Cajimat is charged with interference with flight crew members and attendants and assault within a special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.
Interference is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assault on an aircraft is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The charges are among the most recent filed by federal prosecutors across the nation amid a surge of reports about unruly passengers.
Information from The Washington Post is included in this report.