Deaf couple in altercation after service dog allegedly punched on flight
ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Federal authorities are investigating after police officers responded to a heated brawl in the middle of Orlando International Airport.
Hazel Tamirez and her boyfriend, Matt Silva, are both deaf. They were on a Frontier flight with their two children and their service dog, a Great Dane. According to the couple, another passenger said the dog was taking up too much space on the plane. That passenger, Tim Manley, said he pushed the dog away, because his wife is allergic to dogs.
However, a field report from the Orlando Police Department tells a different story. The report states that Manley "punched the dog with a closed fist, causing it to yelp." The report also states that Tamirez, who is 20 weeks pregnant, "was punched in the stomach" by that same passenger. Manley said he never punched Tamirez, but he did admit to pushing the dog.
"The dog was practically right in my face, and I pushed it away," he said.
What followed, were some heated moments on the plane, and once the plane landed and passengers disembarked, that altercation carried into the airport terminal.
"I'm thinking, I don't know what this guy's gonna do, and I don't know what he wants," said Manley, describing Silva. "Next thing I knew, he jumped on top of me and got me down to the floor. I got up and just started walking away."
In a statement released by Frontier, the airline said that, "upon deplaning Flight 1752 from Colorado Springs to Orlando, there was a confrontation between passengers. Police were immediately notified to aid in deescalating the situation."
Manley gave us an edited version of cell phone video of the altercation. Police arrived shortly after Silva is seen pushing Manley to the ground.
"We felt disappointed and disgusted how the man treated our service dog and assaulted me as a pregnant lady," Tamirez told FOX 35, via Facebook messenger, adding that Silva was "incredibly shocked and surprised" by the incident.
No arrests were made and the case is now in the hands of federal officials.
"We can all look at life, and say, 'I could have done everything certainly differently,' but I'm trying to move on and learn from this," Manley said.