Yesterday, a photo of an unruly Icelandair passenger who had to be restrained with duct tape and plastic ties on a flight from Reykjavik to JFK on Thursday spread across the internet faster than a dog driving a power wheel car by himself. Passenger Gudmundur Karl Arthorsson, 46, may not have been arrested, but he did make it to the front cover of the NY Post. And some more details about his drunken antics leading up to the photo have been revealed.
“He drank an entire bottle of hard liquor two to three hours into the flight,” Manhattan resident Andy Ellwood, who posted the photo to his Tumblr, told the Post. Ellwood's friend, who was on the flight, was the one who snapped the picture. Another source said a flight attendant confiscated two liquor bottles after that, but Arthorsson “went into the seat pocket in front of him and began consuming a variety of mini bottles" (including Grand Marnier, whiskey and schnapps).
Then about two hours before the flight landed, police say Arthorsson “became intoxicated, verbally abusive toward the flight crew as well as other passengers.” That's when things got very messy: “He tried to grope and strangle fellow passengers and they said absolutely not,” Ellwood said. He tried to “choke the woman next to him” and was “screaming the plane was going to crash,” other passengers said. “Just think of a typical drunk, when he starts taking fighting poses,” a police source told the Post, adding that Arthorsson appeared to be “completely out of his mind.”
Two passengers and an off-duty captain then allegedly pinned him to his seat while Icelandair’s flight crew wrapped him in duct tape and plastic ties (they also gagged him for good measure). A spokesman for Icelandair, Michael Raucheisen, confirmed the details of the incident to the Times:
His behavior was considered to be unruly and threatening. To ensure the safety of those on board, he was restrained by passengers and crew and was monitored for his own safety for the duration of the flight. Upon arrival at JFK the flight was met by authorities who arrested the male.
A Port Authority spokesman confirmed that Arthorsson was met by police after the plane landed, and transported to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated for alcohol poisoning. The spokesman told us local authorities did not feel it warranted charges, and the Post adds passengers wouldn’t come forward to detail his threatening behavior.
Arthorsson, who works in Trinidad and Tobago as a civil engineer, had been on his way to Jamaica to meet up with his fiance. The spokesman told us that these types of incidents happen "once in a while, but not that often."