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Caught on camera: 5 men arrested after disturbance over mask mandate at Fort Lauderdale airport

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Five people were told to leave a Spirit Airlines flight out of Fort Lauderdale Friday night after they refused to wear masks inside the plane, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. After they left the plane, the disruption continued to spill over inside Terminal 4 when BSO deputies arrived.

That’s when two of the men were arrested after reportedly shoving deputies and the other three also taken into custody.

Spirit Airlines personnel had reportedly asked the men identified as William J. Lloyd, 53, Drake William Loyd, 24, Michael A. Lloyd, 23, John Anthony Bruce, 24, and Matthew L. Novak, 24, to leave the plane over what the airline described as a “mask violation” inside the aircraft. All were from New Jersey.

When BSO deputies arrived at Terminal 4 around 9:30 p.m. to escort the group out of airport, they started yelling profanities. One of the men, Drake William Lloyd, reportedly pushed a deputy, then his father, William Lloyd, pushed another deputy to get to his son. Both were charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct. The three others were arrested for disorderly conduct.

(WARNING: Obscenities in the below video may be offensive to some viewers. See what led up to the arrests as deputies escort passengers out of the FLL terminal.)

See what led up to 5 men being arrested after being asked to leave a Spirit Airlines plane for violating the federal mask mandate.
See what led up to 5 men being arrested after being asked to leave a Spirit Airlines plane for violating the federal mask mandate.
RAW VIDEO: Broward Sheriff's Office deputies take down 5 men who caused a disturbance on a Spirit Airlines flight after they refused to wear masks.
RAW VIDEO: Broward Sheriff's Office deputies take down 5 men who caused a disturbance on a Spirit Airlines flight after they refused to wear masks.

(Above, the raw video of the arrest.)

On Friday, a passenger on an American Airlines plane from JFK Airport in New York to Miami International Airport caused a nearly two-hour delay after being told to leave the plane after the airline said he would not follow flight crew instructions to wear a mask.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration unruly passenger incidents are on the rise, with most of them due to mask-related incidents. As of July 27, 2021, the FAA said it had 3,615 reports of unruly passengers with 2,666 of them incidents related to mask wearing.

On Feb. 2, 2021, it became a federal law to wear a face mask in an airport and on passenger aircrafts, along with other modes of transporation.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, the federal face mask requirement extends to the nation’s domestic network of airports; passengers and crewmembers flying aboard airplanes operated by domestic and foreign air carriers with inbound flights to U.S. ports of entry; and surface transportation modes, such as passenger rail, bus systems, and over-the-road bus companies.

Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties, according to TSA.


About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.