NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A passenger who sprinted at a plane’s cockpit during a flight, pounding on the door before attacking a flight attendant and fighting with officers at the Newark airport, has been charged with aggravated assault and other crimes, according to media reports.
Matthew Dingley, 28, of New York, was arrested Thursday for injuring the flight attendant and six officers, including one who was hospitalized with four broken ribs.
A passenger on the United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Newark told NBC that it started when Dingley sprinted at the cockpit and began to pound on the door. The passenger, Mike Egbert, said Dingley then attacked a flight attendant who tried to intervene. Other passengers on the plane stepped in to help the attendant and brought the situation under control, Egbert said.
The man charged at officers when the plane landed in Newark, sending them falling down the boarding stairs leading up to the plane, Port Authority spokesman Scott Ladd told NJ.com.
Officers were eventually able to restrain Dingley. The injured officers and the flight attendant were taken to a hospital.
“He picks up a police officer, throws the police officer,” Egbert told NBC. “If he did actually get into that cockpit lord knows what would have happened.”
Dingley was charged with aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and interfering with transportation. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney, according to the media reports.
He was being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility.