Man Gets Naked on Airplane
Posted by shadmia on July 2, 2009
Keith Wright, 50, from the Bronx, is in federal custody after an incident on a US Airways flight to Los Angeles. Mr. Wright is not a terrorist, nor were his actions a threat to anyone on board the aircraft. He simply removed all his clothes and refused several requests by the flight attendant to put them back on. He did however become combative when the attendant attempted to cover him with a blanket.
Wright, who suffers from a bipolar disorder, and 148 other passengers boarded US Airways flight 705 in Charlotte, NC, bound for Los Angeles on Tuesday evening (6/30/09). He later admitted to authorities that he had not taken his prescription medication that morning before leaving New York. He was seen dancing in a crowded boarding area before the flight, but when approached by Flight Service Supervisor Claudia Kearney, he told her he had drunk one beer. Kearney said she did not smell alcohol on him and determined he was well enough to travel.
Wright boarded the plane with the other passengers and took his seat in the back of the aircraft. It was some time during the flight that Wright decided to take off all his clothes.
“I fell asleep and the ladies fell asleep and I woke up and I turned and she was gone and I was like oh my gosh, this guy is naked!” passenger Lynette Naude said.
Passengers said it was a sight to see. Cell phone pictures taken from inside the plane showed a passenger, identified as Keith Wright from the Bronx, sitting naked in his seat near the rear of the plane.
“One of the flight attendants tried to get the guy to respond, but she got nothing. But then when they tried to cover the guy up, get his clothes back on he started getting physically aggressive,” one passenger said.
Wright was unresponsive when a flight attendant asked him to put his clothes back on, said Dan Jiron, a spokesman for the Albuquerque airport. “She asked him on more than one occasion to put on his clothes. She covered him with a blanket and he took that off,” Jiron said. That was when Wright punched and kicked the flight attendant, who then asked two off-duty law officers for help.
“We actually had to physically hold him down on the floor and um, handcuff his ankles, his wrists,” said Matt McGinnis, who, along with a Los Angeles Police officer and an L.A. sheriff’s deputy, helped restrain the man.
The flight attendants also were dealing with an unrelated onboard medical emergency at the same time, which exacerbated the situation, the FBI said. The aircraft was diverted, to Albuquerque, NM, because of the medical emergency, and Wright’s actions were a secondary reason for the unplanned landing, the complaint said.
Passenger Ginny Keegan of Detroit was sitting in the front of the plane, when there was commotion coming from the back.
“All of a sudden there was a bunch of activity and a lot of loud things going on and all of a sudden people started getting out of their seats in the back of the plane,” she said.
The people on the flight were notified of a violent passenger as the plane began to approach Albuquerque, but Keegan said no one was fearful.
“No one was really panicking. The flight attendants seemed to handle it very well,” she said. Keegan said the man was “completely naked” as he was taken in handcuffs off the plane.
Roger Finzel, an assistant federal public defender representing Wright, said he has not yet met with his client and had no information about the case other than what was in the complaint. Wright is in federal custody on a federal charge of interfering with flight crew members and attendants. He is expected to appear in federal court in Albuquerque on Thursday.
The flight was delayed about an hour. Wright told the FBI he recalled nothing about the flight or his behavior.
As the plane took off again, Keegan said the usual announcement to please fasten your seat belts came over the loudspeakers with a twist. The message included “a reminder to everybody to please keep your clothing on. It got a couple chuckles,” Keegan said.