By Mail On Sunday Reporter
Last updated at 1:37 PM on 03rd May 2009
Arrested: Galina Rusanova is accused of punching and kicking flight attendants
A respected Russian artist was arrested after mixing wine and prescription drugs before allegedly drinking liquid soap and attacking flight attendants on a trans-Atlantic flight.
British-based Galina Rusanova is accused of of punching and kicking flight attendants and – at one point – ‘snapping like a dog’ while trying to bite a crew member’s leg.
Rusanova appeared at court in Bangor, Maine, on Friday, charged with assault and interference with a flight crew. She will remain in custody before a detention hearing in a US district court on Monday.
According to the FBI, Rusanova went to Los Angeles to visit a man she me on the internet and was returning to London on Wednesday when her flight was diverted to Bangor.
The 54-year-old is known in Britain as a respected artist, actress and author who mixes with the rich and famous at London society and charity events.
According to court documents, after her arrest she spent the night at Eastern Maine Medical Center for observation and is said to have told FBI agents: ‘It’s typical of me. I sometimes do crazy things.’
The trouble is thought to have started three hours into the United Airlines flight. Court reports claim she seemed very intoxicated, found it hard to get into her seat and kicked the seat in front.
Rusanova allegedly fell asleep but then began bothering other passengers, moving around the cabin and speaking incoherently when she awoke.
She is then accused of drinking a bottle of liquid hand soap from a lavatory on the plane as a flight attendant looked on, according to the documents.
Liquid soap is sometimes consumed for its alcohol content.
When a crew member asked her to go back to her seat, Rusanova is said to have waved her arms. According to the documents, the attendant tried to control her by putting her arms around her, and then moved her to the plane’s galley.
As other staff and a passenger tried to calm her down, Rusanova allegedly assaulted them. She was then handcuffed to a crew member’s seat at the back of the passenger compartment, the documents said.
Air rage? Trouble started brewing three hours in to the United Airlines flight
Rusanova told FBI agents after her arrests that she took prescription pills and drank wine because she has a fear of flying.
She claimed that she took sleeping pills and an antidepressant and drank two or three small bottles of red wine once on board the plane. She remembered talking about the seating and the quality of the wine but little else, the documents state.
She told US Magistrate, Judge Margaret Kravchuk, that she lived on disability allowance in the UK.
Rusanova did not enter a plea on Friday. She will probably be held without bail until the case is resolved.
Rusanova has been based in Britain for 20 years and began painting seven years ago. Her work has sold widely in London.
A friend told the Sunday Telegraph that she was known to meet up with men she had met over the internet.
There was no reply at her north west London home when the newspaper visited yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘We are aware of this woman’s arrest and we are providing consular assistance.’