The flight instructor, in an inebriated state on Saturday, had allegedly assaulted a senior citizen and was detained by Powai police; the next morning, he landed up at Terminal 2 and told officials he had been “held hostage by unidentified people”
Terminal 2 of the city’s international airport saw high drama on Sunday morning, when a US national arrived at the spot and claimed unknown people had abducted him and held him hostage.
Nathan Alan Hunter (31), a US national, is a flight instructor and had come to Mumbai on May 15 to meet his students
Airport officials and local police later learnt that the man had actually spent the night in the Powai police lock-up, for allegedly assaulting a senior citizen in a drunken stupor. He was finally let go after the US consulate put in a written request to the cops.
Nathan Alan Hunter (31), a flight instructor, was in the country to meet some of his students, and was staying in Powai. On Sunday, at around 11.45 am, Hunter approached the security personnel at T2, claiming he had been kidnapped by unidentified people the previous night and had somehow managed to free himself from their clutches.
He was also wearing the uniform of a crew member of ExpressJet, an American airline operator. Not wanting to waste any time, security officials immediately apprised the local Sahar police of the incident. Cops started investigating into the matter.
The truth, however, turned out to be much less dramatic. Sahar police learnt that Hunter had gotten drunk on Saturday and had created nuisance. For this, he had been handed over to the Powai police. A police official from Sahar police said, “Hunter had turned violent in his inebriated state on Saturday night and had started hitting a senior citizen in the neighbourhood.
The Powai police was informed and he was taken for a medical exam. After that, he was put in the lock-up for the night.” The Powai police let him go in the morning after the instructor came to his senses. The police official further said that Hunter had left in the morning, telling his colleagues that he was leaving for Delhi.
Instead, he landed up at T2 in an ExpressJet uniform and created a commotion. A female officer from the US consulate reached the Sahar police station and, after an hour, police let him go when the officer put in a written request. Hunter was then allowed to fly to the US the same night.
The 31-year-old flew back by United Airlines’ UA-49 (Mumbai-Newark) at 11.20 pm on Sunday. When contacted regarding the incident, Jeffrey Ellis, press officer, US Consulate General, Mumbai, told mid-day in an email reply, “Due to US privacy laws, we do not comment on US citizen services cases. US citizens in India are subject to local laws. For any additional questions, please contact the relevant local authorities.”
Madhukar Sankhe, assistant commissioner of police, airport division, said, “The US National is an instructor by profession and does not work for any airline. He landed in Mumbai on Friday to meet crew members of various airlines whom he had trained and was heavily drunk on Saturday night.
The next day, he entered level 1 of T2 wearing the uniform of ExpressJet’s crew and created a ruckus. After this, he was immediately handed over to us. It was only after the US Consulate put in a letter of request to us that we left him. We didn’t register a case since he had not harmed anyone on the airport premises.”
When asked why the Powai police hadn’t pressed charges against the US national after he was accused of assaulting a local, a police officer claimed that the victim didn’t wish to pursue the matter and, hence, Hunter was let off.