An American Airlines flight from New York City to Orange County, California, had to make an emergency landing at Denver after a first-class male passenger assaulted a female flight attendant on Wednesday evening. The passenger punched the flight attendant in a dispute over wearing his mask, according to witnesses.
The flight attendant was severely injured and was profusely bleeding, according to eyewitnesses. On making an emergency landing at Denver, cops met the plane at the gate and immediately apprehended the individual, who was snapped sitting in the airport in handcuffs by Rose. The incident is now being investigated by FBI agents, according o Denver Airport authorities.
According to eyewitnesses on the flight, the unruly first-class male passenger punched the flight attendant twice in the face in a dispute over wearing his mask. One of the passengers and a witness to the incident, Mackenzie Rose, said that she saw the flight attendant walk by after being punched "with blood on her mask".
The altercation made the American Airlines Flight 976 from Kennedy Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana make an emergency landing at Denver Airport after pilots felt that it was unsafe to carry the unruly passenger. The flight took off from JFK Airport just before 5 pm on Wednesday and landed in Colorado at 6:43 pm Denver time according to flight tracking website Flightview.
The plane landed safely and the suspect was arrested. Photographs of the brawl and the passenger eventually getting arrested since have made their way to social media. while a photo posted Also, a photo on Twitter appeared to show crew members and passengers duct-taping the man to his seat.
The flight eventually left Denver for Orange County about 9:30 pm Denver time following the incident, according to American Airlines.
According to witnesses, the man refused to wear the mask despite being requested by the crew. A heated argument ensued and the passenger swung a pair of punches at the female flight attendant in the face.
"The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with American Airlines in the future, but we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law," a statement from the airline read.
"Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant and ensuring that she and her fellow crew members have the support they need at this time."
According to Rose, one of the witnesses, she had "an impression that there might be a substance or alcohol involved" in the incident. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced earlier this year that it would begin to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers after a rise in reports of aggressive behavior on flights.
Assaulting a flight attendant is a felony and could land an offender years in prison.