SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – An American Airlines flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County on Wednesday night was rerouted to Denver after a passenger assaulted a flight attendant air.
Mackenzie Rose, another passenger on the flight, told CBSLA that the incident happened around halfway through the trip, as the plane was flying over Ohio. The passenger suspected of assaulting the flight attendant would be in first class or business class.
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The flight attendant had blood on her after the assault, according to Rose.
“I saw her go by and she had blood on the outside of her mask which blessed her, she was still wearing it,” she said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Flight AA 976 landed safely at Denver International Airport at 6:37 p.m. MT. According to the airline, law enforcement removed the passenger.
American Americans told CBS News on Thursday that they did not believe the attack was related to the mask, as a passenger told CBSLA.
A union representative from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants told CBS News Thursday that the flight attendant had been treated at a Denver hospital for facial fractures and was hoping to return home Thursday afternoon.
The FAA is investigating with the FBI.
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Rose had told CBSLA that she thought the incident may have been related to the mask.
“I understand he actually hit her twice,” Rose said. “I saw her come down the aisle afterwards. She had blood splattered on the outside of her mask. If you’re not ready to wear a mask you’re not ready to fly, that’s kind of the moral of the story. That was why she was angry, because… it felt like there might be a substance or alcohol involved. As for men hitting women, this is absolutely absurd and ridiculous.
Another passenger, identified only as Jack, said a doctor on the flight examined the flight attendant after the assault.
“Yeah, there was a doctor on the flight, luckily,” Jack said. ” Then I do not know. He said he was not broken, but was bleeding, so they took her to the hospital, ”he said.
No other injuries were reported and the name of the suspect was withheld.
American Airlines provided CBSLA with the following statement on Wednesday evening:
“We are outraged by the information about what happened on board. Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. We’ve engaged local law enforcement and the FBI and we’re working with them to make sure they have all the information they need. 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 is prosecuted with all the rigor of the law. This behavior must stop, and aggressive law enforcement and prosecution is the best deterrent.
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We thank our crew for their speed of action and their professionalism to ensure the safety of other team members and customers on board. Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant and we are making sure that she and her teammates have the support they need at this time. “