Ukrainian man indicted in flight disruption
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Ukrainian man who authorities say had been drinking heavily before he ran to the back of a Salt Lake City-bound Delta Air Lines plane and tried to open an emergency exit was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for disrupting the flight and attempting to bribe the FBI agents who arrested him.
Federal authorities say Anatoliy N. Baranovich woke up during the plane's descent from Boston, started yelling in Russian and tried to open the rear door, damaging the plane's fuselage, before other passengers restrained him.
Baranovich then offered federal agents $6,534 to let him go, according to the indictment.
Investigators said Baranovich had nearly 20 passports with him — all belonging to other people — when he was arrested while heading home to Portland, Ore. They didn't know why.
Baranovich, 46, is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Thursday on charges of damaging and disabling an aircraft, interfering with a flight crew, bribing a public official, and assaulting and resisting officers.
Baranovich told authorities he had been visiting family in the Ukraine for several weeks while attempting to begin construction on a house. Unsuccessful in his efforts, Baranovich instead got drunk for the entire 50-day trip and "never sobered up," according to the criminal complaint.
He also said he believed the wing of the airplane was on fire when he got up from his seat, ran to the back of the aircraft and tried to open the emergency exit as a flight attendant ordered him to stop, authorities said.
Baranovich has been detained since the Oct. 15 incident.
Authorities also are investigating why Baranovich had 19 passports in his possession at the time of his arrest. They said they found the passports — 16 for women, ranging in age from their 20s to their early 30s, and three for men — when they searched his luggage.
Three of the passports appeared to be issued to people who live or have been in the U.S. Some documents were heavily used and had no more room for visa stamps, while others showed little travel.