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Actor-Model Held After Being Tackled By Passengers On Flight From Chicago

Arash Durrani

Arash “Ash” Durrani was restrained for three hours after harassing passengers on a flight from Chicago. (Credit: Facebook/KCBS-TV/CBS Los Angeles)

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UPDATED 09/27/12 – 3:32 p.m.

SANTA, ANA, Calif. (CBS) — A man who has made a name for himself as a model, designer and actor is in custody, after passengers reportedly had to tackle him on a flight headed from Chicago to Orange County, Calif.

Arash Durrani, 26, who is known professionally as Ash Durrani, was arrested Tuesday night. He was hauled off the plane after passengers restrained him with their belts for hours, as he behaved aggressively and grabbed women on United Airlines Flight 473.

The flight was headed from O’Hare International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

CBS Los Angeles reports Durrani will be charged with a federal offense for interfering with a flight crew.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports 45 minutes into the flight, passengers say Durrani started pacing the aisle. He appeared drunk and was harassing other passengers, witnesses said.

Vicki Manning was on the flight.

“He actually verbally threatened another passenger,” Manning said. “All the passenger had said to him was, ‘You know, you need to sit down.’”

Manning’s husband, Thomas, recorded the incident on his cell phone. Six passengers jumped into action, holding Durrani down and restraining him with their belts.

“I’m thinking, ‘They’re going to land the plane. This can’t go on,’” Thomas Manning said.

On their cell phone video, Durrani could be heard screaming, “Help me! You’re hurting me!”

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports Durrani was restrained for nearly three hours, until the plane landed as scheduled and police took him away. The crowd cheered as Orange County sheriff’s deputies took him away.

After Durrani was taken off the plane, the other passengers were asked to stay at the airport to talk to authorities, since they had all become witnesses to a crime.

United says procedures were followed.

DePaul University professor and transportation expert Joe Schwieterman said incidents like this have been happening more and more frequently.

“No question it’s happening more. It’s a hazard of a flight attendant’s job now, the unruly passengers,” he said.

Schwieterman, a former United employee praised the passengers on the plane for working together to restrain Durrani when he began disrupting the flight.

“9/11 has brought on this understanding that there’s nobody there to help you on the flight. I mean, the captain is locked in the cockpit, and something like this occurs, people band together,” he said. “You look at the speed in which passengers now come together to thwart the threats, and it’s just remarkable, and we’ve seen this time and time again.”

KCBS-TV reports Durrani used to live in Orange County, Calif., but now lives in Virginia. He was returning to Orange County to deal with a court appearance that had been scheduled for Thursday morning.

Durrani’s IMDB biography says was born in Alexandria, Va., and interned in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., before coming to California while in college. Once there, he founded a production company specializing in Web film shorts co-branding products with trendsetting elements. The company sold for quadruple its initial investment two years ago, IMDB reported.

Durrani is credited as the director for several music videos on the Swoop Magazine Web site, featuring swimsuit calendar girls.

He later became a clothing designer, focusing on promoting charities and social movements with the labels GROW Clothing and Grounde Roots over Wealth, IMDB says.

The IMDB biography by Charles Scrampton said Durrani was “the premiere event host of the Los Angeles area’s South Bay and Hollywood community,” and has now moved on to acting. But his only acting credit on IMDB is for the as-year-unreleased action movie “Duel of Legends.”