FBI Anchorage
Public Affairs Officer Chloe Martin
(202) 525-8888
June 27, 2023

Passenger Arrested in Alaska for Multiple Crimes Aboard an Aircraft

FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office Caution Travelers Amid Rise in Criminal Conduct on Commercial Aircraft

ANCHORAGE—On June 24, 2023, the FBI arrested Christian David Burch, 37, of Minneapolis, MN, for multiple crimes aboard an aircraft to include interference with flight crew members and attendants, and simple assault within maritime and territorial jurisdiction.

On Saturday, June 24, 2023, at approximately 10:20 a.m., the FBI Anchorage Field Office received reports of a disturbance aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 183 with service from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK. At approximately 11:00 a.m., Flight 183 landed at the Anchorage Airport, and Burch was placed in federal custody.

According to court documents, during the flight, flight attendants observed Burch acting erratically and stumbling towards the front of the aircraft. A flight attendant physically obstructed Burch’s path before he reached the cockpit, then called for medical assistance on the cabin loudspeaker. A registered nurse who was a passenger on the aircraft was able to medically assess Burch, but shortly after, Burch had allegedly become combative, refused crew members’ instructions, and began fighting with the crew members, causing minor injuries. With the help of several passengers and crew members, Burch was restrained mid-flight for passenger and crew safety, and given Narcan for a suspected overdose.

The FBI Anchorage Field Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska remind the public and upcoming travelers to be air aware, as reports of criminal violations aboard aircraft have increased in recent years. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting federal crimes occurring on commercial aircraft that endanger the safety of passengers, flight crews, and flight attendants.

For additional information on specific violations the FBI investigates related to crimes aboard aircraft, in airports, and related to air travel, please visit the FBI’s Crimes Aboard Aircraft resource page.

If you are a victim or witness of crime aboard an aircraft, report the incident to your flight crew and to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Burch is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge on June 29, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. in Anchorage. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

The FBI Anchorage Field Office is investigating this case, with assistance from the Anchorage Airport Police Department (AAPD). Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Schroeder is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

A federal criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.