UK
15/05/2014 08:00 BST | Updated 15/05/2014 08:59 BST

London-Bound Plane Forced To Turn Back After 'Drunk, Unruly' Passenger Attempted To Grope Three Women Aboard Flight

ASSOCIATED PRESS
HOLD FOR BUSINESS PHOTO-- This is a US Airways jet taking off from Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 in Imperial, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A drunken airline passenger forced a London-bound plane to return to the US after he groped not one, not two, but three female passengers.

Robert John Coppack, 40, of La Verne, California, will remain in custody until a detention and probable cause hearing Monday in federal court.

An FBI affidavit says two women seated near Coppack complained about him on Tuesday's overnight flight, prompting the crew to steer him toward the back of the plane.

The affidavit says he then groped a retired flight attendant as he walked down the aisle. He was detained on board by an air marshal on the flight, and later charged with intimidating the crew and interfering with their work.

Coppack, who told his seatmates he had been drinking vodka, was also aggressive and verbally abusive, the affidavit said.

US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr says the flight eventually arrived at Heathrow, about four hours late.

Coppack was traveling on a British passport, and told officials he has dual citizenship, the affidavit said.

Authorities say he could spend up to 20 years behind bars. He’ll be back in court on Monday for a detention hearing.