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The incident happened early Sunday on JetBlue Flight 832 from the Dominican Republic to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the NYPD said.
A passenger accused of attacking a JetBlue flight attendant who tried to stop him from drinking has been charged with assault by New York City prosecutors.
Antonio Ynoa was charged in a criminal complaint filed Monday. He's due in Brooklyn federal court later in the day.
The complaint says Ynoa grew belligerent while drinking straight from a bottle on a JetBlue flight en route Sunday from the Dominican Republic to Kennedy International Airport.
It alleges that when the flight attendant confronted him, Ynoa hit him three times in the face and tried to head-butt him.
Anibal Mercado, an off-duty NYPD officer, helped subdue Ynoa before the flight landed. It landed safely with no further incidents.
The Bronx patrol officer told reporters that he felt compelled to help.
"Everybody was very alarmed," Mercado said. "I could see the fear in the passengers' faces."
The name of Ynoa's lawyer was not immediately known.