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Irish Voice News
Irishman Threatened to Blow Up Plane
March 12, 2008
By April Drew
AN Irishman is being detained in jail in Bangor, Maine after he assaulted air staff on a trans-Atlantic flight and threatened to blow up the plane on February 29.
Aiden Mackle, 44, of Portadown, Co. Armagh, boarded a flight from Atlanta to Dublin, but due to rowdy behavior the pilot of the Delta Airline flight was forced to divert the plane to Bangor, Maine, where Mackle was arrested by FBI agents.
The U.S. District Court in Bangor heard that cabin crew of the Delta flight 176 had to pin down Mackle after he became physically abusive and informed them he was going to blow up the plane.
Mackle is being held in Piscataquis County Jail in Maine until his case is brought to trial. He has been charged with one count of interference with flight crew and one count of assault on board a plane. No trial date has been set.
Mackle, who was on his way home from visiting friends in California, consumed several small bottles of wine prior to the plane’s departure, passengers told FBI agents.
During the flight, Mackle switched seats and told a passenger sitting next to him that he was going to have a cigarette. After the smell of smoke became obvious from the bathroom, a flight attendant confronted Mackle, who denied smoking and became abusive.
Court documents stated that Mackle was loud, verbally abusive and had been asked on at least one occasion by a flight attendee to quiet down.
The captain of the flight was informed of Mackle’s disorderly behavior, and an off duty pilot was asked to take charge of the situation.
According to court documents, Mackle claimed to be affiliated with Osama bin Laden and told crewmembers he was going to hijack the plane. When asked to calm down, Mackle allegedly replied, “Okay, I’m a terrorist. Go ahead and land the plane.”
After the captain decided for the safety of his passengers and crew to land the plane as soon as possible, Mackle continued to become physically aggressive, punching
one of the flight attendants in the stomach. Crewmembers forcefully pinned the unruly passenger down and restrained him with handcuffs.
Court documents described how Mackle, after being detained on the flight, threatened to blow up the plane and refused to inform crew where his carry on bag was stowed. It was finally an on board police officer from Ireland who calmed Mackle down.
In a court order issued on Monday, Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk wrote that Mackle admitted “he cannot drink alcohol without suffering serious consequences,” to the court.
Mackle’s sister said that her brother suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism and “when the two illnesses coincide Mackle falls victim to depressive drunken rages,” the judge wrote.
Mackle’s family confessed to the Bangor court that he has often in the past become extremely angry when drunk, but has never resorted to violence.
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