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Fri, Mar 30, 2007

Drunken Rage Results In $12,000 Fine For Passenger

Also Faces Potential Lawsuit From Airline

Paul Randall Burns, a 47-year-old Florida resident, was fined $12,000 Thursday for an incident of air rage on a Continental Airlines flight earlier this week. Burns pleaded guilty to one charge of violating the Aeronautics Act for "endangering the safety and security of an aircraft in flight."

CBC News reports the flight originated in Oslo, Norway and was destined for Newark, NJ. The plane was forced to make an unscheduled stop at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador when Burns reportedly became uncontrollable.

In court, Burns testified he had not consumed alcoholic beverages for years, but starting drinking vodka while waiting to board his flight in Oslo. He then continued to drink vodka during the flight, until he became unruly and the flight attendants stopped serving him.

At that point, he became belligerent -- assaulting two passengers on the flight, including one who was waiting to use the lavatory. Burns was then restrained by several flight attendants and passengers, and remained handcuffed to his seat for the remainder of the flight.

RCMP officers took custody of Burns after the unscheduled landing. As he was being taken from the airplane, he was still struggling with officers and was "dragged" from the plane.

Several sources report Burns is now detained in Goose Bay and is attempting to secure the money needed to pay his fine before he can be released. If he fails to come up with the cash, Burns would be forced to serve three months in jail, according to the Happy Valley/Goose Bay Telegram.

And even that may not be the end of Burns' problems... as Continental Airlines has considered suing him for the expenses associated with the forced landing, which could be more than $13,000.

FMI: www.continental.com

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