July 28, 2011 -- Two men allegedly attacked an American Airlines pilot after being kicked off a flight in Miami Wednesday night, according to officials.
Brothers Jonathan and Luis Baez of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, were aboard the San Francisco-bound flight when an attendant noticed that Jonathan, 27, was sleeping without his seatbelt buckled. When she tried to wake him as the plane departed the gate, Baez was unresponsive and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or dugs, officials said.
The pilot turned the plane around and returned to the gate.
"As we always do with these things, we'd much rather deal with it on the ground than in the air," American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said today.
Police said the pilot and the flight attendant then woke Baez and asked him to get off the plane. Smith said he was not complying with procedure.
"He was exhibiting symptoms of intoxication," Smith said. "He was not walking well when he went up the aisle."
Luis Baez, 29, left the plane with his brother. As the brothers approached the plane's exit, the two became agitated, officials said. Luis Baez reportedly told the pilot, "When you fly to San Juan, I will have you killed."
The two left the plane, but Jonathan then returned and allegedly punched the pilot in the face and hit the flight attendant in the shoulder when she tried to intervene, according to police.
The brothers then allegedly attacked the pilot again in the jet bridge and chased him through the terminal. Members of the flight crew and other passengers held the brothers until the police arrived.
"There was a scuffle that took place, so about three or four of us went out there and tackled the guys," passenger Ken Venting of Scotts Valley, Calif., said. "There were two of them and I guess the pilot ended up with some contusions on his face. So we just did what we needed to do to help out."
The pilot, who is based in Miami, had cuts and bruises on his face and suffered from blurred vision, officials said. He also told police he was afraid Luis Baez would follow through on his threat.
Another pilot filled in and flew the plane carrying 176 passengers to San Francisco International Airport.
Jonathan Baez was held on $9,000 bond and was charged with battery and aggravated battery. Brother Luis was also charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault. It's unclear whether either brother had an attorney.
"I think it's fair to say that both these gentlemen won't be flying with us again," Smith said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.