Man pleads guilty in air rage incident
LAS VEGAS – A Vietnam native pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting two people on a Delta Airlines flight in July.
In exchange for Hung Duong’s guilty plea, the U.S. attorney’s office agreed to drop the more serious charge of interference with a flight crew, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Walt Ayers said the government will recommend that Duong get credit for time already served on one of the assault charges and probation for the second count.
Sentencing was set for Jan. 21.
According to the FBI, Duong, 30, was flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta July 24 when he became upset that a flight attendant would not serve him before other passengers.
Duong turned over the beverage cart, burning a 17-month-old baby and her mother with hot coffee. He then assaulted a 12-year-old girl and another woman on his way back to his seat.
The plane’s pilots were forced to land at McCarran International Airport as a result.
According to court testimony Tuesday, Duong was returning to the United States from Vietnam, where his psychotropic drugs had been confiscated. He only has a hazy recollection of some of the events.
A psychiatric exam showed that Duong is competent to stand trial and is stable while medicated.
Under the plea agreement, Duong will not be permitted to fly within the United States for 18 months and once that time period is up, he will need written permission from a doctor to do so. In addition, he would have to notify the airlines of his conviction and psychiatric condition. He would also have to be accompanied by a chaperon who could administer his medication.
Duong was ordered to pay Delta about $4,200, the cost of diverting the flight to McCarran.