Identical twins on a flight from San Francisco to China Friday, fought and tussled with each other and then physically brawled with flight attendants, prompting the airline pilots to divert the jet to Anchorage.
Federal authorities charged two 22-year-old sisters, Crystal and Cynthia Mikula of Buckley, Mich., with interfering with a flight crew, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.
Their behavior was "disruptive and dangerous," FBI Special Agent Phillip Reid told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
The twins and 231 others were three hours into a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Shanghai on Thursday when the women ordered several alcoholic drinks and the trouble began.
"Their behavior deteriorated to the point where they were arguing against each other, calling each other names, using profanity," said Reid. "It escalated to actually them getting into a fistfight with each other on the flight."
One FBI agent told the Anchorage Daily News that the incident on United Airlines Flight 857 turned into a "donnybrook at 36,000 feet."
Since January 2000, there have been 13 other incidents of "air rage" over the state of Alaska, Reid said. The state has zero tolerance for air rage and the women face federal charges.
‘Open the Door!’
"I've got to get out of here," Cynthia Mikula reportedly yelled at her sister at one point. "Let me off this airplane, I've gotta smoke, open this door!"
When a flight attendant tried to intervene, Cynthia allegedly hit her in the nose.
When one of the pilots escorted the twins back to their seats and sat beside them to prevent more trouble, Cynthia allegedly reached over her sister in the middle seat and hit him in the head. She later struck another flight attendant in the face and spat at other staff, authorities say.
Finally, the flight crew put Cynthia in plastic handcuffs, prompting her sister, Crystal Mikula to put another flight attendant in a headlock. She was then restrained as well.
Far Short of Shanghai
At that point, the 747-400 jet was 2,200 miles from Tokyo and 1,100 miles from Anchorage. The four pilots opted to land in Anchorage, and the sisters were escorted off the plane.
As the women left the plane, a passenger shot a home video of Cynthia Mikula screaming, "Why? Why are you doing that? Why don't you tell them I didn't do nothing wrong?" she yelled. "Tell them! Tell them I did nothing wrong!"
No one was seriously injured, but the flight was delayed by more than a day. The other passengers were taken to hotels. The airline offered them a chance to tour Anchorage or Portage Glacier on Friday.
The twins were reportedly on their way to modeling jobs in China.