A New York flight diverted from Tokyo to Anchorage, Alaska, early Monday made its emergency detour because a man inexplicably went “berserk” as soon as he got on board the All Nippon Airways Boeing 777.
Why the man, identified as Nobuya Michael Ochinero, 38, was not simply removed from the aircraft before it left the ground has not been fully explained, but the entire diverted flight affair is now in the hands of US federal authorities.
All Nippon Airways, which operated the flight, ANA Flight 10, from Narita Airport outside of Tokyo to New York’s JFK International Airport, gave the reason that the New York Flight was diverted as “unruly behavior” by a passenger.
ANA spokesperson Nao Gunji said that the airline was still gathering information on the reasons why the 12-1/2 hour nonstop flight was diverted to Anchorage on its way to New York.
But Chuck Lustig, an executive with the group Human Rights Watch was occupying the seat directly in front of Ochinero. Lustig told The Anchorage Daily News that the man was trouble from the start.
“He was berserk from the moment he got on the plane. He was yelling and screaming, spitting on the floor. He was smacking the back of my seat and other passengers’ seats,” Lustig told the local Anchorage paper.
He also said that on the intended New York flight, the “berserk” man became verbally abusive to flight attendants, but did not seem to have anything specific to say to them.
“It was more like crazy grunting. Nothing really intelligible,” Lustig said.
Ochinero apparently has a Facebook page which contains this picture of the individual who allegedly single-handedly diverted the New York flight to chilly Alaska.
His Facebook profile says that Ochinero is currently a resident of Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district. He is a member of the Swarthmore College Class of 1997 and also studied at Boston College, according to the Facebook profile.
As he continued to act in a seemingly crazy and threatening fashion, the flight crew deployed zip-tie handcuffs to bind Ochinero in his seat. Even while bound, he continued to struggle and sometimes spit at other passengers and flight crew.
The flight was delayed for a few hours at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport where Ochinero was removed from the plane and arrested by the FBI at about 4:30 am local time. The diverted New York flight then took off again and completed its journey to JFK without further incident.
No injuries were reported as the New York flight was diverted, then sent on its way. Ochinero is in custody at Anchorage Correctional Complex.