Ottawa Fury player attacked by passenger during flight to Atlanta
A soccer player with the North American Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury was attacked on an Air Canada flight as the team traveled to Atlanta on Friday.
The player, who the team identified as Oliver Minatel, was the victim of an attempted strangulation by a unnamed assailant seated behind him. The CBC reported that the team told investigators that the man was "acting bizarrely" prior to the incident.
According to reports, the assault occurred ten minutes before the team’s landing in Atlanta, when the assailant allegedly grabbed Minatel’s headphones and attempted to choke him with them.
Ottawa Fury manager Marc Dos Santos was quoted by the CBC as saying: "The person did not look normal. He thought [the Fury] were members of a gang and were pursuing him."
Another passenger intervened and the plane landed without further incident. The FBI and local Atlanta police took the man into custody and the team was questioned before departing to their game on Saturday night.
The Fury released a statement thanking the passengers and crew on the flight.
"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 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."