Drunk Russian accused of plane hijack bid

Moscow, Feb 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian investigators accused a businessman Friday of attempting to hijack a plane while drunk, the latest in a string of incidents that have prompted lawmakers to push for tougher measures against rowdy passengers.

Sergei Kabalov, a 54-year-old businessman from Saratov, started to behave violently while drunk on board a Kogalymavia airliner bound for Egypt last month.

The man then tried to break into the cockpit.

A criminal case was launched against him for attempted plane hijacking and assault, the Investigative Committee said Friday.

A YouTube video made by another passenger shows Kabalov punching one male passenger on the nose and striking a flight attendant.

He also yelled that he was part of Russia's intelligence services and threatened he "could kill anyone with two fingers".

If charged and convicted, Kabalov faces 12 years in prison, although he has not been detained as he did not return from his vacation in Egypt on the scheduled date.

Kabalov's case was one in a string of recent brawls caused by Russian airline passengers, which have prompted calls for a crackdown on on-board drinking.

The Investigative Committee said Friday it was also opening a case against another drunk passenger, Nikolai Komissarov, after he insulted crew members and police officials onboard a Utair airlines plane in Kaliningrad in December. He faces up to two years of correctional labour if convicted.

Earlier this week, a flight from Moscow to Thailand was forced to divert to Uzbekistan when a Russian man attacked other passengers after drinking a bottle of liquor.

In another incident, three teenagers were barred from boarding a plane at Ufa airport for rowdy behaviour on the ground.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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