A member of the New York City Police Department returning from the Dominican Republic cut his Thanksgiving vacation short on board his flight home Sunday. Officer Anibal Mercado, an 18-year veteran of the NYPD, subdued an unruly passenger on a Jet Blue flight 30,000 feet in the air after the man began verbal abusing two flight attendants and attacked another.
Antonio Ynoa, 22, went on a rampage after attendants refused to him bring him beverages to mix with the duty-free rum he brought on board the plane with his carry on. Ynoa allegedly began cursing and shouting at the female flight attendants and then punched a male attendant in the face four times.
The babies were crying, I could see the fear in the passengers' faces, said Mercado, who works out of the 44th Precinct in the Highbridge section of The Bronx, according to the New York Post.
Mercado was unarmed during the flight, but jumped in to defend the passengers and flight attendants. The 300-pound officer wrestled the passenger to the ground and placed him under arrest with handcuffs supplied by the flight crew.
If I didn't step in, I didn't even want to imagine what could have happened, said Mercado, according to the New York Post.
Ynoa is expected to be arraigned in Brooklyn on Monday in Federal court for assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Even when I'm on vacation, I'm still a police officer, Mercado told the New York Daily News. The only difference is, it was 12,000 feet in the air.