Drama in the sky: Delta captain calls on ‘able-bodied men’ to subdue off-duty flight attendant threatening to ‘take plane down’

In a mid-air confrontation, a man who allegedly assaulted two flight attendants on a Delta plane traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta was subdued by passengers after the captain called for volunteers.

According to police, the man had threatened to “take the plane down.” The plot twist being that the unruly passenger is reportedly an off-duty Delta flight attendant.

The man reportedly had first commandeered the intercom and told the passengers that to prepare to put on the oxygen masks, which understandably created tension through the plane.

Shortly thereafter, the captain went on the PA system to request that “all able-bodied men please come to the front of the plane for an emergency.”

Multiple good Samaritans stepped forwarded and subdued the man, after which a flight attendant asked all the other volunteers to return to their seats.

Passengers recorded the incident on their cell phones.

The plane made an emergency landing in Oklahoma City, where cops removed the man from the plane. The plane was swept by bomb technicians before it was cleared to continue to Atlanta after about a three-hour delay. The suspect is now in FBI custody.

(Warning: Twitter user’s handle has graphic language)

Delta released a statement about the Friday evening incident.

“Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 (LAX to ATL) who assisted in detaining an unruly passenger as the flight diverted to Oklahoma City (OKC). The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement. We apologize to our customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this caused.”

“Despite some social media posts suggesting the passenger may have tried opening the plane door or that it was an attempted hijacking, the Delta spokesperson said that was never the case,” KING 5 reported.

Passengers have reportedly described the man as allegedly engaging in strange behavior before acting out and dressing oddly.

“[The suspect], who officials say was exhibiting signs of mental health issues, was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pain. Officials say the FBI is questioning [the man], who is expected to be charged with two counts of assault and battery,” ABC7 Los Angeles reported.

No passengers or crew were harmed in the incident.

This is not the only instance of recent turbulence aboard a Delta flight. On Thursday, a Delta flight outbound from Los Angeles to New York needed to be diverted to Detroit because a passenger was disruptive.

And earlier this month, a flight attendant tackled a man who allegedly tried to breach the cockpit on another outbound flight from  Los Angeles.

In a press release issued in late May, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it is implementing a “zero-tolerance policy for unruly and dangerous behavior by passengers.” The agency added that “Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate.”

Violators could face civil penalties as well as criminal charges.


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