ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – A Washington man was sentenced on March 9, 2023, for putting a flight crew in fear of being assaulted during a commercial airline flight.
According to court documents, on March 1, 2023, Marc Hetsler, 43, was a passenger aboard Aleutian Flight SRY 1102 with service from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska. While the aircraft was in flight, Hetsler laid down in the aisle and refused to let flight crew through. He then became combative and began behaving aggressively towards the crewmember. An off-duty police officer aboard the flight stepped in to assist the flight crew. Hetsler became confrontational with the officer as well. Other passengers then assisted in subduing Hetsler who was restrained for the remainder of the flight. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation placed Hetsler into federal custody upon the plane landing at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Eight days after his arrest, on March 9, 2023, Hetsler pleaded guilty to an Information charging Fear Assault in the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 46506 and 18 U.S.C. § 113. He was sentenced to time served for the eight days he spent in federal custody.
“The safety and security of air travel is paramount, and we will continue to prosecute offenders in order to ensure that all passengers are able to travel without fear of assault or harm,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker. “We hope that this case will serve as a warning to others who may consider committing similar acts in the future, and that it will encourage everyone to follow the rules and regulations designed to keep our skies safe and secure.”
U.S. Attorney Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska made the announcement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Will Taylor and Karen Vandergaw prosecuted the case.