Unruly passenger forces flight to return to Anchorage

Posted: Wednesday, July 05, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Continental Airlines flight was forced to return to Anchorage Tuesday when a passenger hurled a can of beer at a flight attendant and bit one of the crew.

Norma Linda Lozano, 38, address unknown, was arrested and charged with crimes aboard an aircraft, which include interfering with the flight crew and assault, according to the FBI in Anchorage.

''It was somewhat violent,'' said special agent George P. Stecko.

The problem occurred aboard Flight 120 as it headed to Seattle-Takoma International Airport and then on to Newark, N.J. The plane left Anchorage at 1:39 a.m. and returned just before 4:00 a.m. It continued on its way about three hours later.

During the flight, Lozano began arguing with her boyfriend and became unruly when a flight attendant asked her to calm down. She threw a full can of beer which she brought aboard the aircraft, hitting the flight attendant and splashing beer on passengers, including a 3-month-old baby, the FBI said.

Another flight attendant and several passengers intervened. The first officer was alerted to the problem and left the cockpit to help. When he tried to restrain Lozano, she bit him on the wrist, Reid said.

By that time, the captain had already decided to return to Anchorage.

Passengers kept the woman restrained until the flight reached the gate and she was removed from the plane.

She was taken into custody by FBI agents and was being held at the Sixth Avenue Pretrial Facility in Anchorage.

Erica Roy, a spokeswoman for Continental Airlines, said it is the airline's policy to deny boarding to anyone who is intoxicated or threatening other passengers. But she said sometimes it's hard to tell before the flight if a passenger will become unruly.

Some of the passengers told authorities the woman was acting strangely before the flight departed.

Roy said the airline has no record of such an incident occurring before on a Continental flight departing Anchorage.

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