Man accused of disrupting Delta flight had been on 50-day drinking binge

Oct 17 2012 - 4:42pm


Anatoliy N. Baranovich (police photo)
Anatoliy N. Baranovich (police photo)

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Ukrainian man, hung over from a 50-day drinking binge, said he believed the wing of the airplane was on fire when he disrupted a Salt Lake City-bound Delta Air Lines flight and had to be wrestled to the floor by passengers, authorities allege in a criminal complaint.

Anatoliy N. Baranovich, 46, made his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday on complaints of damaging and disabling an aircraft and interfering with a flight crew. Federal authorities say Baranovich woke up during the plane's descent, started yelling in Russian and had to be restrained by passengers.

U.S. Magistrate Paul Warner scheduled a detention hearing for Friday.

Baranovich boarded Delta Air Lines Flight 1215, bound for Salt Lake City, Monday evening in Boston. He was headed to Portland, Ore.

According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Baranovich had been visiting family in the Ukraine for several weeks in an attempt to begin construction on a house. Unsuccessful in his efforts, Baranovich instead got drunk for the entire 50 days and "never sobered up."

Baranovich also admitted to drinking several alcoholic beverages while traveling and either fell asleep or passed out on the flight, the complaint said. When he awoke, he thought the wing of the aircraft was on fire and tried to alert fellow passengers in Russian.

Baranovich was carrying a Ukrainian passport and U.S. visa. Officials say they do not believe he posed a terrorist threat.

After the plane touched down, Baranovich got up from his seat and ran to the back of the aircraft, according to the complaint. He then tried to open the emergency exit door as a flight attendant ordered him to stop.

The door jammed and caused an emergency inflatable slide to malfunction, which caused "extensive damage" to the plane's fuselage, the FBI said.

Several passengers tried to wrestle Baranovich to the ground while he attempted to open another emergency exit door. One passenger forced him to the ground and held him until the plane taxied to a gate, where law enforcement and medical personnel had been called.

If convicted, Baranovich faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count.



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