Passenger accused of trying to punch flight attendant remains in custody

Passenger accused of trying to punch flight attendant remains in custody
A tracking map from FlightAware.com shows the path of the returning plane. (Source: FlightAware.com)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for South Korea was forced to return to Honolulu on Wednesday night after an unruly passenger tried to punch a flight attendant, sources say.

The passenger has been identified as Kyong-chol Kim.

Sources say the Korean national is a convicted felon who arrived in Hawaii on Monday but was denied entry at customs. He was taken to the federal detention center until Wednesday’s flight home.

They said he was escorted to the gate and allowed to have a duty free bottle of alcohol.

The flight he was on — 459 — departed Honolulu for the Incheon International Airport at around 1 p.m.

About four hours into the flight, sources said he tried to punch the flight attendant but missed. Federal authorities said Kim was drunk at the time.

Some military passengers on board helped restrain the suspect.

A Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson did not have any details about the incident, but said the flight had 263 passengers and 13 crew members on board.

The airlines says it was scheduled to land on Oahu at 8:40 p.m. A new departure time for South Korea was set for 10:10 p.m.

Sheriffs, FBI and Customs along with Border Protection agents were set to meet the plane and arrest the unruly passenger.

At last check, he was back at the federal detention center.

Hawaiian Airlines is apologizing to their guests for the inconvenience.

This story will be updated.

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