On a flight from New York City to Southern California on Wednesday evening, October 27, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a passenger attacked a flight attendant, leaving her with a blood-splattered nose.
Following the assault, American Airlines Flight 976 from Kennedy Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana was diverted to Denver, ABC7NY reported.
A passenger shared a photo of the man who was arrested sitting inside the Denver airport terminal. He is seen handcuffed and wearing a mask.
“The attack was unprovoked,” a source told CNN.
The flight attendant accidentally bumped the first-class passenger early in the trip while in the aisle and instantly apologized. Later, the man walked to the galley area, punched the flight attendant twice, and then returned to his seat.
Passengers said the man then had to be duct-taped to his seat, and they say alcohol was involved before things became violent.
“I understand that they actually punched her twice,” said one passenger. “I did see her walk back down the aisle afterwards. She had blood splattered on the outside of her mask.”
“Yeah there was a doctor on the flight luckily, so I don’t know,” said another. “He said (her nose) wasn’t broken but she was bleeding so they took her to the hospital.”
The plane landed safely, and the passenger was also arrested.
“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 provided to The New York Post 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.”
Previously, thousands of violent incidents have been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the COVID-19 pandemic.