Passengers Restrain Man Accused of Grabbing Women on Flight

One passenger said the man grabbed her hair and told her to kiss him aboard the United Airlines flight bound for Southern California from Chicago

By Robert Kovacik and Jonathan Lloyd
|  Friday, Sep 28, 2012  |  Updated 1:25 AM CDT
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Passengers wrestled an unruly man to the ground during flight to John Wayne Airport this week. Actor Arash Durrani allegedly refused to stay in his seat, and now faces felony charges for interfering with flight crew. Vikki Vargas reports from John Wayne Airport for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2012.

Vikki Vargas

Passengers wrestled an unruly man to the ground during flight to John Wayne Airport this week. Actor Arash Durrani allegedly refused to stay in his seat, and now faces felony charges for interfering with flight crew. Vikki Vargas reports from John Wayne Airport for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2012.

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Passenger Tackled on Flight to OC Airport

Passengers said they had to tackle a man who was behaving aggressively and grabbing women during a flight from Chicago to Orange County's John Wayne Airport Tuesday night. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2012.
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Passengers used belts to restrain a man who was taken into custody Tuesday night after allegedly harassing people -- including a woman who said he grabbed her hair and asked her to kiss him -- aboard a flight from Chicago to Santa Ana's John Wayne Airport.

Passenger Nona Pitts told NBC4 that the man, identified by the FBI as 26-year-old actor-model Arash Durrani, sat across from her on United Airlines flight 473. Pitts asked whether he was "on anything" because of his strange behavior.

"He was kind of slurring his words," Pitts said. "He just goes, 'Why, you want some?'

"The stewardess came by and he said, 'I want another (Jack Daniels).' I said I think he's had enough to drink. She gives him two more bottles of J.D."

Pitts, who owns an Orange County salon, moved to a different seat, but Durrani followed her, she said.

"He grabs my hair and he goes, 'Nona, Nona, Nona, kiss me,'" said Pitts.

When the man started pacing and scaring children on the plane, passenger David Truong said he and other passengers took action and physically restrained the man with belts.

"He looked at every one of us and said, 'I'm going to kill you and your entire family,'" Truong said.

The man was restrained for nearly three hours.

United Airlines issued the following statement Thursday:

"A customer on United 473 became disruptive during the flight. Our crew followed procedures to ensure the safety of that customer and other customers nearby. The airplane landed safely and law enforcement officials met the flight. We continue to review the facts of the situation."

Durrani, who also goes by Ash, is listed as an actor in one movie that hasn't been released. His agent, Sheila Di Marco, said Wednesday she hadn't heard anything about the incident.

Durrani will be charged with a federal offense for interference with a flight crew, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Durrani used to reside in Costa Mesa but now lives in Virginia. He was due back in Southern California for a criminal court appearance, according to the FBI.

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