AIRPORT policemen arrested an elderly American for allegedly attempting to break a window of a Philippine Air Lines (PAL) aircraft bound for Cebu from Manila early yesterday morning.
Rex Maybert Hampton, 80, injured a fellow passenger and cracked the inner windshield of the window beside him with his wooden cane. He allegedly became unruly while PR843 was approaching Cebu’s air space, a police official said.
His Cebuana wife Jovelyn, 42, said her husband hallucinated that someone wanted to kill him and he was trying to escape through the window.
Supt. Joey Salido, chief of the 7th Police Center for Aviation Security based at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, said they are preparing a charge of malicious mischief resulting in damage to property and violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations.
One passenger was injured during the melee.
Salido said the act endangered the lives of the other passengers. But PAL said its pilots made sure the flight’s safety was “not compromised during the incident.”
“The cabin crew and some passengers tried to restrain Hampton, resulting in injury to another passenger, Oscar Surban, and damage to the inner side window pane of the aircraft cabin that was hit by Hampton’s walking cane,” said Jonathan Gesmundo of PAL, in a press statement.
The incident occurred around 5:30 a.m. or 30 minutes after the plane (PR843) took off from Manila. The flight landed in Cebu and proceeded to Manila on schedule, PAL said.
The Hamptons were reportedly arguing when the incident occurred.
“He was hallucinating and I asked the wife if Hampton took any medicine before boarding the flight,” Salido said.
She could not remember giving him any medicine before the trip, but added he sometimes takes anti-depressants, Salido added.
By the time the plane landed in Mactan, aviation security personnel were waiting to arrest Hampton. (While in flight, pilots Capt. Jesus A. Garcia and First Officer Rommel Gideon I. Enriquez requested assistance from Cebu’s PNP Aviation Security Command).
Surban was taken to PAL’s clinic, while Hampton was taken into custody by aviation security personnel, pending the filing of a criminal complaint.
Salido said the US Embassy called up his office to confirm Hampton’s detention and assured to help check his background.
He said the danger caused by the incident was not severe. Only one of three layers of the window’s glass was cracked.
It will cost at least US$620 to replace the cracked window pane, including labor charges, said PAL Cebu sales and services manager Jun Canton.
Civil Aviation Regulations state: “No person on board an aircraft shall recklessly or negligently act or omit to act in such a manner as to endanger the aircraft or persons and property therein.”