Oliver Minatel, a player on the North American Soccer League's Ottawa Fury, was choked by a passenger on an Air Canada flight Thursday, the CBC reported.
A passenger sitting behind Minatel attacked him aboard Air Canada Flight 8623 from Toronto to Atlanta, attempting to choke Minatel with the cord of his personal headphones. Another passenger intervened to help Minatel evade the strangler.
The plane landed as scheduled in Atlanta at 4:40 pm EST. Minatel and his team were en route Atlanta to play the Atlanta Silverbacks. Atlanta police and the FBI removed the suspect from the aircraft when it landed, according to the report.
"It wasn't a fun moment … and I think some of our guys are in shock, but now everything's back to order," Fury coach Marc Dos Santos told CBC News in a Skype interview from the airport in Atlanta on Friday evening. Dos Santos described the situation as "like a movie."
The Fury put out a statement on their website:
The Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League today expressed thanks to the passengers and crew on an Air Canada flight this afternoon that came to the aid of a Fury FC player. The player, Oliver Minatel, was involved in an unprovoked incident which is now under investigation by law enforcement agencies in the US."We’re very thankful to everyone who came to the aid of Oliver and relieved that he’s OK and ready to play in our game against the Silverbacks in Atlanta tomorrow evening,” said Fury FC Head Coach Marc Dos Santos. “I and others on the flight have made statements to the proper authorities and I’d like to leave further comment on the matter to them while we prepare for the game.
- Will Green