Delta flight returns to Sea-Tac after passenger assaults flight attendant

Robyn Ryan
July 11, 2017

As two attendants struggled with Hudek, the suspect punched one of them twice in the face and hit a passenger who was trying to assist the attendant in the head with a wine bottle, and then again tried to open the exit door.

Joseph Hudek, 23, allegedly started fighting with other passengers on the plane from Seattle to Beijing, causing such a disturbance that the pilot had to turn around.

When Hudek exited the restroom two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door, grabbed the handle and tried to open it. One flight attendant told investigators that Hudek "did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, 'Do you know who I am?'"

Hudek, who punched a flight attendant and an intervening passenger, had two wine bottles smashed over his head before he was eventually restrained, according to a probable cause document. However a flight attendant involved in Thursday's incident said that if the altercation had occurred at a lower altitude, the door might have opened.

He was arrested on the tarmac on Thursday and has appeared in court charged with interfering with a flight crew, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a £195,000 fine.

Two hours after takeoff, the plane landed back at the Seattle Tacoma airport at 7.10pm.

Finally, when Hudek was greatly outnumbered he was subdued and held down in the galley, with his limbs tied down as the attendants attempted to return the exit door lever to its original position.

Several first class passengers helped restrain Hudek until the plane landed safely at Sea-Tac Airport and Hudek was taken into custody.

The flight attendant and a passenger were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said, without giving further details about the injuries.

In a statement to CNN, the airline said a passenger was restrained and removed from the flight because of a "security incident" onboard. The flight re-departed for Beijing later that night.

Delta described the event as a "security incident with a passenger".

There were conflicting reports soon after the incident.

He had been sitting in the Boeing 767's first-class section, she said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has referred questions to the local law enforcement and also to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in this respect.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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