A Delta flight en-route from Seattle to Bejing received an unexpected and scary disruption on Thursday when a flight attendant attempted to quell an unruly and violent passenger who was attempting to open the emergency exit door at 32,000 feet by breaking a bottle of wine over his head.
Appearing on Friday in the US District Court in Seattle, Joseph Daniel Hudek from Florida, who was travelling on Delta Flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing, faced one count of interference with flight crew members for allegedly assaulting flight attendants. When he exited again, he reportedly "lunged toward the forward right exit door of the aircraft, grabbed the handle and attempted to open it".
Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and struck at least one passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, it said. A passenger who tried to help staff was hit on the head with a bottle of red wine and more passengers...
Delta flight attendants receive seven to eight weeks of initial training and recurrent training of which a "significant portion" focuses on the safety of passengers and flight attendants, according to a Delta spokesperson.
"Flight 129 returned to Seattle following a security incident with a passenger", said the airline. One flight attendant even shattered a wine bottle on Hudek's head, though it didn't manage to slow him down much. After about an hour in the air, he went to the lavatory.
Hudek faces 20 years in prison for the incident.
One flight attendant and a passenger were taken to a hospital after suffering severe facial injuries, authorities said.
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Hudek had been traveling on a "dependent pass", the complaint said.
The attendants then signaled for help from several passengers and notified the cockpit by telephone, the complaint said. 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.
Jones also noted that the man who instigated the incident was handcuffed and zip-tied by authorities, and taken through the airport terminal in a wheelchair.
Finally, someone on the flight crew was able to restrain this asshole in a headlock and the plane landed safely back in Seattle.
But he remained "combative and noncompliant", overturning the wheelchair in the middle of the airport, KIRO reported.
Joseph was charged with interfering with a flight crew and ordered to stay behind bars until next Thursday's detention hearing.
'This is so out of character of him, I can't believe it, ' Hudek said.
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