Transatlantic flight returns to PHL with drunken, misbehaving man

Robert Coppack: Charged
Robert Coppack: Charged
Posted: May 16, 2014

TALK ABOUT the worst hangover ever.

A 40-year-old California man was arrested yesterday after allegedly getting drunk on vodka, groping women and threatening federal air marshals on a flight from Philadelphia to London, causing the plane to turn around and return to Philly so he could be removed.

Los Angeles-area resident Robert John Coppack, who told authorities he has dual citizenship in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, was one of 283 passengers on US Airways Flight 728, which left Philadelphia International Airport for London Heathrow about 10 p.m. Tuesday. It didn't take long for Coppack to start misbehaving, a US Airways spokesman said, and the plane turned back after about an hour.

Two women sitting next to Coppack told flight attendants that he "touched both inappropriately," according to an affidavit for Coppack's arrest filed in U.S. District Court. "They further stated that he had told them he was drinking vodka," the affidavit reads.

An attendant reprimanded Coppack, the affidavit says, but he became more vulgar and aggressive. When the attendant sent him to the back of the plane, Coppack touched another woman's arm and breast on his way, the document says.

Apparently he didn't stop there: When air marshals met Coppack at the back of the plane, officials said, the drunken man threatened to assault them if they didn't leave him alone. With that, the marshals cuffed him, ending the apparently vodka-fueled episode.

The plane went back to Philly, where Coppack was removed, and it departed again for London at 2:30 a.m., an airline spokesman said.

Coppack was charged yesterday with intimidation of a flight-crew member or attendant and interfering with the duties of a crew member or attendant. He was in custody last night awaiting a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.


On Twitter: @morganzalot

Blog: PhillyConfidential.com

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