Man Freaks Out When Flight Crew Stops His Yoga Practice On Plane — Now He’s In Big Trouble
Flying can be very stressful. What better way to chill than yoga and meditation?
But if you’re in the middle of a flight and want to perform your sun salutations at the back of the plane, that will probably displease the crew, five Marines on board, and the FBI.
That’s what happened to a 72-year-old Korean man named Hyongtae Pae, who wanted to do yoga mid-flight to calm himself down. Then he tried to head-butt and bite those who tried to stop him.
For that act of violence — and disobeying the orders of the flight crew — Pae could spend 20 years in prison, Reuters reported.
The incident happened on Tuesday during a United Airlines flight from Hawaii to Japan. Pae, a retired farmer and apparent yoga enthusiast, and his wife were returning home from their first vacation in Hawaii to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, his attorney, Jin Tae Kim, told the Associated Press.
A kerfuffle erupted about an hour and a half into the nine-hour flight, ABC News reported. During the meal service, Pae said he didn’t want to sit in his seat and went to the back of the plane to do yoga and meditate.
Flight attendants and his wife soon ordered him back to his seat, and that’s when things got ugly. CNN reported that Pae screamed at everyone in Korean and got violent, pushing his wife several times. Around this time, the pilot decided to turn the plane around, and it landed back in Honolulu.
“Pae pushed his wife because she was trying to make him stop,” a federal complaint said. “He felt that she was siding with the flight crew.”
The crew invited him to sit in the aft galley to calm down, and he refused, sitting in the middle of the galley instead. Pae kept on yelling, screaming, “There is no god,” verbally abusing the crew, and declaring that he planned to kill passengers. Staff told the FBI they felt threatened.
Passengers then sprung into action, including five U.S. Marines who happened to be on board. Together, they tried to put restraints on Pae, but the task wasn’t easy.
The man tried to headbutt and bite the Marines as they tried their best to force him back into his seat, according to U.S. Attorney Darren Ching.
Evidently, Pae was ticked off because he didn’t like the crew bossing him around. He also didn’t know that it’s illegal to disobey flight attendants when they tell you to do something — like not perform yoga at the back of the plane.
He’s since appeared in federal court to face charges of interference with the performance of a flight crew. He’s on suicide watch at a detention center and will get a mental health evaluation soon.
Pae has told the FBI that he wanted to do some yoga and meditate because he was at his wit’s end thanks to the vacation. He was also sleep-deprived, claiming that he hadn’t slept in 11 days. He took up yoga to help with anxiety.
However, FBI spokesman Tom Simon pointed out that it wasn’t wise for Pae to practice yoga mid-flight.
“While yoga and meditation can be beneficial activities, it doesn’t negate the need to obey flight crew instructions while in the air. The fact that the defendant’s alleged misconduct caused the flight to be turned around in the air gives you an idea of the seriousness of this situation.”
Meanwhile, Pae’s lawyer said that his client “was trying to calm himself down. I guess that’s why he wanted to do some yoga, to calm himself down.”
He’s since been released on bail but won’t be going back to South Korean anytime soon — his passport has been relinquished and his Hawaiian vacation has been extended for the time being.
[Image via Alones/Shutterstock]