PORTLAND, Ore. — The cousin of a Saudi Arabian teenager indicted on charges of interfering with a flight crew says his relative suffers from schizophrenia, was flying home to see his sick mother and hasn't taken his medication for three weeks.
Authorities allege 19-year-old Yazeed Mohammed A. Abunayyan swung his fist at a flight attendant, tried to hit passengers and mentioned Osama bin Laden during a flight from Portland, Ore., to Houston. Police arrested him Tuesday night at Portland International Airport after his Continental flight turned around following the incident.
Fahad Alsubaie tells the Medford Mail Tribune he was the person escorted off the plane with Abunayyan. The 21-year-old cousin says the disruption began when a flight attendant confronted the two for sitting together, because Alsubaie was in the wrong seat. The cousin says he was trying to sit with Abunayyan "just to make sure he was safe."
Alsubaie is a Saudi Arabian exchange student studying English at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.