Court documents indicate that traveler Aaron Sweeney put another passenger into a headlock and threatened to kill one of his arresting officers.
A fistfight erupted last week on a Southwest Airlines flight from Austin, Texas, prompting the Chicago-bound plane to return to Austin—Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon onboard Southwest Airlines Flight 3590 and involved two passengers, one of whom was arrested, the Austin-American Statesman reports.
According to court documents, the plane was approximately 20 minutes into its journey when a physical altercation occurred between 28-year-old Aaron Sweeney and another unnamed passenger. At this point, traveler Lisa Birkman told news station KVUE, one of the two men was told to move seats. “Then the pilot came on the intercom and said that we were turning around,” she explained.
Local police boarded the flight upon landing, arrested Sweeney and also spoke to a flight attendant who had witnessed the brawl between the two men. According to the arrest affidavit issued for Sweeney, he was seen to have put the unnamed passenger into a headlock and to have punched him multiple times. Sweeney was also found to have been drunk at the time of the incident.
As Sweeney was being escorted off the plane, he physically rushed another member of cabin crew and became aggressive once more towards his victim. Despite having to be restrained, Sweeney remained physically and verbally abusive towards officers.
The affidavit indicates that, as he was being transferred from the airport into the police patrol car, Sweeney attempted to overturn the wheelchair into which he was strapped by pushing his feet onto the ground. Upon arriving at a local jail, it is reported that Sweeney threatened to kill one of his arresting officers.
Authorities from the Austin Police Department confirmed that Sweeney has been charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and assault on a public servant. Southwest confirmed the incident in a statement, saying that “an altercation on board between two passengers” had caused the plane to return to AUS.