CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A man who traveled thousands of miles to get the United States has been charged with jumping out of an American Airlines plane Thursday onto the tarmac at Charlotte Douglas Airport.
Tun Lon Sein is facing federal charges. He appeared Friday morning in federal court.
The incident was reported on American Airlines flight 5242 from Charlotte to New Bern, according to the federal complaint.
Sein is from Myanmar and had traveled halfway around the world to get to his final destination in New Bern. He flew from Thailand to Hong Kong to New Jersey. Charlotte was his last stop before heading to New Bern.
But in Charlotte, he got out of his seat, went to the main aircraft door and tried to open it, according to the criminal complaint. The document said the flight attendant and two other passengers got out of their seats and attempted to get Sein to return to his seat.
Sein is accused of trying to bite the flight attendant's hand before opening the galley service door and jumping onto the tarmac.
An airport ramp worker and a Charlotte airport operations staff member went to the tarmac and stopped Sein from running onto the taxiway, court documents said.
Sein was escorted back to the Charlotte terminal and taken to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment.
Court documents said Sein spoke little to no English, which turned out to be an issue in federal court. The prosecutor said officials couldn't find an interpreter who could translate Sein's dialect from his native Myanmar. It will be at least a week before the courts can bring a translator so he will have to stay in jail.
The Episcpal Migration Ministry sponsored Sein's immigration to the United States. The agency said it's talking with the law enforcement and the State Department to see what they can do to help.
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