United Airlines Passenger Tries To Bite Off Seatmate’s Ear

United Airlines Passenger Tries To Bite Off Seatmate’s Ear

30

This is ridiculously disturbing on so many levels…

United passenger attacks seatmate

Wednesday morning’s United Airlines flight from Newark to Miami, UA728, diverted to Charleston due to one passenger’s awful behavior. 45-year-old John Yurkovich is the man behind the attack on several other passengers. WCSC reports on the content of the police reports about the incident:

  • Yurkovich got up to use the bathroom and returned a short while later, but appeared to be agitated; at that point he became “restless” and “bounced around his seat”
  • Yurkovich then asked for some water from a flight attendant, and then retrieved pills from the overhead bin
  • Yurkovich then sat back down and began to “scream and thrash around”
  • Yurkovich’s seatmate held his arm up to protect himself, but ended up being struck with a closed fist on the side of his face, causing his glasses to break, and he also suffered a laceration to his ear, as the man tried to bite it off
  • Other passengers intervened to try and restrain the man — a second victim was struck by Yurkovich, and that may have caused a broken nose; a third victim was punched in the head as well
  • At this point other passengers helped to restrain Yurkovich, and a physician even administered a shot of Benadryl in the man’s butt to help sedate him
  • When police officers boarded the plane in Charleston, they found Yurkovich face down on the floor of the aircraft being restrained with zip ties and belts — he had his hands behind his back, and his face was covered by a shirt.

Passenger charged with… drug possession

Yurkovich has been arrested and charged, but not for his assault on other passengers. Rather he was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Police found 1.5 grams of a white crystal substance in his pocket, which tested positive for methamphetamine. Yurkovich disputed the meth charge:

“It’s not what they say it is. It’s a cat tranquilizer actually. It’s not what they’re saying it is.”

So yeah, he’s claiming he was carrying… cat tranquilizer. Yesterday afternoon bond was set at $50,000.

Bottom line

We hear of people misbehaving on airplanes all the time, but this is on a completely different level. It seems that this passenger completely lost it, and out of nowhere started attacking his seatmate and then others.

It sounds like passengers worked together well to restrain the guy, until the plane could be diverted to Charleston. I guess it’s not surprising that there were drugs involved, though I’m not sure why those are the only charges he’s facing as of now.

I’m guessing the FAA will be looking at fining and/or jailing this guy in a significant way.

(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)

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  1. Levin Y

    To see how the shadows move in the cover of darkness, we have to create an illusion of lax laws, so we may catch them.

    This is one of a few strings. Google Viracopos airport for more news.

  2. Matthew

    Wow, what a crazy story. How scary.

  3. Ryan

    @CRAIG
    United never really blocked middle seats. They’ve been selling flights to full capacity since last summer, and no US airline has any plans to let vaccinated people travel without masks. It’s going to be an everyone or no one change when the mask rules are lifted.

  4. Andy

    @TwoScoops: Benadryl can be administered through a intramuscular injection, if the more usual oral way is impracticable. However, it’s generally used in case of allergic reaction, possibly motion sickness - therefore, it be on stock in the onboard pharmacy. I agree, the use in this case is rather weird.

  5. Two scoops

    Wait...a shot of Benadryl to the butt??? Who knew that you could inject Benadryl, and why did a physician have it and a syringe with them? Weirdest part of the story, imo.

  6. John

    United Airlines' spin response: "Hey....at least we made a passenger lose weight!"

  7. KK13

    As COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed gun-games (Atlanta) and hunger games (this) will be on full exhibit. Because 'Murica never ceases to surprise..

  8. John Torkildsen

    Just beat him down!
    Pain is all these Zombie types understand.

  9. Aussie

    Another day another animal that needs to be put down.

  10. TravelinWilly

    @jon - Gerard Finneran died of Alzheimer’s in 2004, nine years after UA976. His Alzheimer’s likely contributed to his behavior, as early onset dementia usually starts ~10 years before symptoms appear.

    I give Mr. Finneran the benefit of the doubt on this incident.

  11. flyingrohit

    This is what happens when you don’t bring back full meal service and passengers start to get a little hungry

  12. Kevin

    How do you know he didn’t chew?

  13. red_robbo

    Definitely bit off more than he could chew....

  14. John Rossa

    My thanks to the folks who posted above. Reading your posts was the hightlight of my day!

  15. Leigh

    I didn't know that Mike Tyson is a UA frequent flyer!:)

    Do ears taste like chicken?

  16. AlohaDaveKennedy

    Bad enough the New Jersey folks coming down to Florida spreading COVID, but now we have to worry about them biting and spreading rabies, too.

  17. BKT

    He was probably on Catamine. Biting is a known side effect of Cat Scratch Fever.

  18. Jason B

    Are you sure this wasn't on a Spirit plane?

  19. jon

    Man, what next ? This makes the guy who sh*t on the United food cart years ago look like an angel.

  20. Edgar

    Typical representation of American society...becoming more evident day by day...

  21. Chicago Chris

    I suspect he hasn't been charged with assault because the local authorities don't have jurisdiction. They found the drugs on a plane in their city so they can arrest/charge with that but the FBI and DOJ may have to prosecute the assault.

  22. Kieran

    For those who use meth, ketamine (a veterinary tranquilizer, called Special K on the streets) also is used. Snorted or injected.

  23. Justin

    it's probably ketamine mixed with meth

  24. shoeguy

    Because 'merica. Seriously, ban this fool from air travel for good. Make him walk.

  25. CRAIG

    What is it with ear biting? I mean its fairly rare but its more common than you would think. I have heard of stories of this throughout my life from school fights to adult situations like this. I seems as though Mr. Yurkovich sniffed a little in the bathroom.

    On to something more relevant to the blog - is United back to seating in each seat? Today's UA718 is 737-900 which is 3x3 I...

    What is it with ear biting? I mean its fairly rare but its more common than you would think. I have heard of stories of this throughout my life from school fights to adult situations like this. I seems as though Mr. Yurkovich sniffed a little in the bathroom.

    On to something more relevant to the blog - is United back to seating in each seat? Today's UA718 is 737-900 which is 3x3 I assume United is holding the middle seat. I wonder if United will start allowing maskless travel with vaccine proof.

  26. Alan

    Well. Like they say, Ear today and gone tomorrow.

  27. AJO

    Given the lackluster buy-on-board menu on UA, this does not come as a surprise...

  28. Bobo Bolinski

    Stop giving idiots who misbehave more publicity. That's what they want.

Featured Comments Load all 30 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Levin Y

To see how the shadows move in the cover of darkness, we have to create an illusion of lax laws, so we may catch them. This is one of a few strings. Google Viracopos airport for more news.

Matthew

Wow, what a crazy story. How scary.

Ryan

@CRAIG United never really blocked middle seats. They’ve been selling flights to full capacity since last summer, and no US airline has any plans to let vaccinated people travel without masks. It’s going to be an everyone or no one change when the mask rules are lifted.

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