UNITED STATED—On Wednesday, October 27, American Airlines flight 976 on Airbus 321 departing from John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York en route to John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, California was diverted after a flight attendant was assaulted by a passenger.
A passenger reportedly punched the flight attendant, breaking her nose which caused blood to spew outside her mask. The pilot then made an emergency landing in Denver, Colorado to have the passenger removed from the plane, and the flight attendant taken to an area hospital for treatment.
Multiple news reports indicate the attendant had multiple broken bones. One of the passengers, Mackenzie Rose, told CBS reporters that she understood that the attendant was actually punched in the nose twice. Social media posts from other passengers indicated that the disturbance delayed the flight by an hour.
The passenger had to have his hands duct-taped together until he was picked up at the Denver airport by police.
Dallas Parker, the CEO, and spokesman for American Airlines, based out of Fort Worth, Texas made the following statements to reporters:
“We are outraged by the reports of what took place on board. Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. We are working with law enforcement to support our team-member and pursue prosecution, and the individual involved in this incident will not be allowed to travel with us in the future.”
First reports indicated that the altercation began over the passenger’s refusal to wear a mask. No arrests have been made. The case has been turned over to the FBI for further investigation.