02/04/2014 10:36 EST | Updated 02/04/2014 10:59 EST

Drunk Flight Outburst Was Potentially Disastrous: Passenger

Bloomberg via Getty Images
A China Southern Airlines Co. cargo jet lands at O'Hare International Airport during an event to mark the opening of a new runway in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. The total cost of Runway 10 Center/28 Center (10C-28C) was $1.3 billion and will allow the airport to increase landings per hour from 88 to 106, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A former military man on an international flight to Vancouver says he had to help subdue a drunk passenger because the aircrew didn't seem to know what they were doing.

James Leigh was on the China Southern Airline flight 329 from Guangzhou with the "crazy" guy who headed for the emergency exit, reported The Province on Monday.

"Everyone was asleep and the lights were turned off in the plane, and he ran down the aisles, screaming and yelling at someone and alarming everyone and waking everyone up," passenger Tanya Truong told CBC News.

The man started throwing punches at the flight crew and passengers, Leigh told CTV News.

Witnesses said the suspect appeared loud and belligerent during boarding, and apparently kept drinking during the flight.

The crew was struggling with the man, so Leigh said he helped to get him into handcuffs, said The Province. Leigh kept the unruly man under control in the gallery and then later sat next to him for the rest of the 11-hour flight.

Abdul Zain Ali, 25, of Australia, has been charged with causing a disturbance, mischief and assault.

Leigh told The Province that "the potential for disaster was high" because the suspect could have opened the back door.

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