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A Washington man who forced a plane to divert in January after he jumped on the drinks cart and ran down the aisle pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with crew members and attendants on Thursday .
Adam Alexander Williams, 33, has admitted the allegations and will be sentenced at a later date, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Montana.
The roar began shortly after an American Airlines flight took off from Seattle, Washington, to Charlotte, North Carolina on January 9.
“Williams jumped over passengers in his row and onto a beverage cart that was in use,” the U.S. attorney explained. “As he got off the trolley, he nearly landed on a stewardess and pushed her into a seat, knocking drinks and mugs to the floor.”
Another flight attendant calmed Williams down and placed him in the middle of several Marines who happened to be on the flight.
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About 10 minutes passed before Williams started acting erratically again.
“Williams got up and started screaming as he stripped off his clothes. At this point, to ensure the safety of the passengers, the aircraft captain turned around and landed at Billings so that Williams may be expelled,” the U.S. attorney said.
Williams was released from prison pending a sentencing hearing at a later date.
The number of unruly passengers on planes soared once air travel rebounded during the pandemic. The FAA only opened 183 investigations into unruly passengers in 2020, but hinted at 1,099 investigations in 2021. The agency has already opened 530 investigations this year.
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The upsurge in in-flight disruptions prompted the nation’s largest flight attendant union to call for a national no-fly list for unruly passengers earlier this year.