American Airlines 'Outraged' After Alleged In-Flight Assault

Witnesses say attendant was punched in dispute over mask-wearing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2021 5:01 AM CDT
NYC-California Flight Diverted After Alleged Assault
American Airlines says the passenger will be permanently banned from its flights.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

American Airlines says it is "outraged" by the actions of a passenger who allegedly assaulted a flight attendant on a Wednesday flight from New York City to California, causing the aircraft to be diverted to Denver. Witnesses say they saw staff duct-tape the passenger to a seat after he assaulted the attendant in a dispute over wearing a mask, CBS reports. The airline says the man was "removed and apprehended" after Flight 976 from JFK Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana landed in Denver. Passenger Mackenzie Rose says the incident apparently occurred in first or business class while the plane was over Ohio.

"I understand that they actually punched her twice," a passenger tells ABC7. "I did see her walk back down the aisle afterwards. She had blood splattered on the outside of her mask." Another witness says the attendant was taken to a hospital after the unscheduled landing. Rose shared a photo of the suspect—handcuffed and wearing a mask—sitting at a gate after he was removed from the plane in Denver. "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," the airline said in a statement. The FBI is investigating the incident. (Read more American Airlines stories.)

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