On Thursday a Delta flight headed for Beijing returned to Seattle after a first-class passenger assaulted a flight attendant. The passenger tried to pry open the emergency exit door but was abruptly stopped by other travelers.
The flight attendant and another passenger were injured from the brutal brawl that broke out during the flight. Both were taken to the hospital immediately after landing safely at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The 23-year-old male passenger from Florida, who has yet to be named, was taken into custody by police when the plane landed.
At around 5.30pm, Delta flight 129 departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but turned back to Seattle about 45 minutes into the flight.
One passenger, who did not want to be identified, said that a group of people took two bottles of wine and broke it over the man’s head in an effort to stop him.
The anonymous passenger added that the man had been going back and forth to the bathroom, when he started heading to the emergency exit latch, saying that he “needed air”.
A flight attendant was punched by the man when she tried to stop him, it was after this that other passengers came to her aid.
“They broke two bottles of wine on his head,” the passenger said. “I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll.”
Passenger Dustin Jones heard the brawl unfold from the first row of the main cabin, right behind the curtain that splits first class from the rest of the plane.
“One of the flight attendants ran back and said there was a Code 3. There was a serious fight up front,” Jones said.
Eventually, the flight was ordered to turn back and another passenger sat on the man in question until they landed where police could arrest him.
Even as he was being escorted out of the airport, zip tied to a wheelchair, Jones said the man continued to fight.
“He started yelling for help. And so he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent,” Jones added.
Delta said in a statement: “The passenger was restrained on board and was removed from the flight by law enforcement without further incident.”
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was helping police with the investigation.
Dietrich said the FBI was questioning passengers and had no information to suggest the incident was a threat to national security.
Watch a local news report about it below:
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