Australian pleads guilty to air rage — (TVNZ)

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Published: 12:30PM Thursday January 18, 2001

An Australian pleaded guilty on Wednesday to kicking a pilot in the groin and assaulting eight other people while drunk and on anti-depressants during a Sydney-to-Los Angeles flight.

Erickson Alfonso Morales, 30, admitted to a US court that he became violent on the November 10 Air New Zealand flight after drinking “too much” wine on top of his anti-depressant medication.

Prosecutors will ask that Morales be deported to Australia and committed to a psychiatric institution, according to the plea agreement.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 26.

The Los Angeles court was told Morales grabbed at three flight attendants and yelled obscene and threatening comments at them and other passengers, including a female passenger he pinned against a wall.

Morales later punched a pilot in the shoulder and kicked him in the groin, as several crew members tried to put him in restraints.

After he was handcuffed and seated in the rear of the plane, his physical and verbal onslaught continued, prosecutors said.

Morales told the judge he suffered from mild depression and the combination of anti-depressants and alcohol made him lose his “inhibitions”.

Morales has been in custody since his arrest after the flight landed at Los Angeles International Airport.