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American Jailed for Air Rage in Asia

August 6, 1999

SINGAPORE (AP) _ An American who shoved a Singapore Airlines employee and tried to open the plane’s emergency exit in midflight during a drunken rampage was sentenced to six months in jail, an official said today.

Sanil Shetty Kumar, 38, of Garland, Texas, attempted to open an emergency exit door, threatened the crew and 336 passengers with death, and used criminal force on a crew member, Deputy Public Prosecutor Toh Yung Cheong told The Associated Press.

Toh would provide no other details. Spokesmen for the airline were not immediately available.

The Straits Times reported Friday that Kumar was flying from Los Angeles to Singapore, via Tokyo, on Tuesday. He had several alcoholic drinks during the flight to Tokyo and was drunk by the time the plane left for Singapore, the paper said, quoting court proceedings Thursday.

Kumar allegedly shouted vulgarities at passengers before making his way to the cockpit to speak to the captain, the newspaper said. In-flight supervisor Chua Ngak Yen told him the captain would not see him and he should return to his seat.

``But the passenger turned violent and shoved Chua in the chest,″ the paper said.

After again being told he could not see the captain, Kumar went to an emergency exit door, shouted: ``Tonight, everybody will die!″ and tried to lift the handle, it said.

Crew members and several passengers stopped him, and he was handed over to police when the plane landed.

Kumar was sentenced to four months in jail for threatening to cause death and two months for using criminal force on Chua. He also was fined $590 for violating the Air Navigation Order, The Straits Times said.

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