FBI: Actor threatened to kill passengers on O.C.-bound flight
An unruly passenger who allegedly frightened and intimidated passengers aboard an Orange County-bound flight by pacing the airplane’s aisles, demanding alcohol and threatening to kill passengers, is expected to appear in federal court Friday.
Arash “Ash” Durrani, 26, was charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants stemming from his alleged behavior on a flight from Chicago to John Wayne Airport on Tuesday night.
Passengers on the flight said they eventually had to hold the man down for the final two hours of the flight, using belts from their pants and other items to restrain him.
Durrani, identified as a model and actor, was reportedly on his way to California to deal with an outstanding arrest warrant in Los Angeles.
Crew members told authorities that during the flight's safety presentation, Durrani left his seat and walked toward the first-class section of the plane and the cockpit, interrupting the required briefing.
He then refused to turn off his cellphone and began harassing female passengers, according to an affidavit filed by the FBI.
“He was being loud and obnoxious right from the get-go,” said Nona Pitts, 45, a salon owner who was on her way back home to Brea.
Pitts said that at first, she took pity on Durrani because he seemed to be anxious about flying. She said she even switched seats and sat next to him, trying to calm him down. She said she noticed a strong alcohol odor and asked if he was “on something.”
At one point, according to the affidavit, Durrani screamed, “I’m from Afghanistan and I will murder all of you.”
Another passenger, Orange County jewelry shop owner David Truong, said he noticed that Durrani kept walking into the plane’s bathroom, which seemed odd to him.
“I felt that my life was threatened,” he said. “I have three kids, so I’m not going to let someone jeopardize my life and not do something about it.”
Truong said he finally stood up and grabbed Durrani by the arm while as many as nine other passengers helped restrain him with belts from their pants and flex ties.
During the struggle, the FBI affidavit said, Durrani bit two of the passengers and screamed, “I’ll murder all of you guys.”
“I’ve never seen a man his size so strong,” Truong said.
Truong said that for more than two hours, he and the other passengers held down Durrani, who seemed to slip in and out of consciousness. When the flight landed at 10:26 p.m., Durrani was arrested and hospitalized.
-- Nicole Santa Cruz