Passengers on board a Delta Airlines flight from Seattle to Beijing had a bit of a wild ride last Thursday with one traveler desperately trying to open the exit door mid-flight.
The FBI has charged 23-year-old Josepth Daniel Hudek IV of Tampa with interfering with a flight crew after he created a disturbance that caused the Delta flight to turn back around to Seattle. According to the FBI, one flight attendant and one passenger suffered serious injuries to their faces in the fracas as fellow passengers and flight attendants teamed up to prevent Hudek from getting to the exit door. One flight attendant even shattered a wine bottle on Hudek’s head, though it didn’t manage to slow him down much.
The Associated Press relays the FBI’s account of the incident:
A probable cause statement written by FBI special agent Caryn Highley said Hudek was sitting in the first row of the Boeing 767′s first-class section. He asked a flight attendant for a beer before takeoff, and was served one, but he exhibited no sign of being intoxicated and ordered no other alcoholic drinks, the attendant told authorities.
About an hour into the flight, while the plane was over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Vancouver Island, Hudek went into the forward restroom. He came out quickly, asked the attendant a question, and went back in, the agent wrote.
When he came out again two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door, grabbed the handle and tried to open it, Highley wrote. Two attendants grabbed him, but he pushed them away, and the attendants signaled for help from several passengers and notified the cockpit by telephone, the complaint said.
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.
As the struggle continued, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek over the head with each — breaking at least one of them, Highley wrote.
According to one flight attendant, “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?’ or something to that extent,” the complaint said.
One passenger got him in a head-lock, but he broke out of it, until finally several passengers held him long enough to place zip-tie restraints on him, Highley wrote. Even then he remained combative, she said, and it took multiple passengers to keep him restrained until the plane landed and Port of Seattle police arrested him.
Hudek faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He did not speak at his hearing on Friday.
While traditionally Chinese tourists have gained a bad reputation for causing trouble on planes, recently American travelers have also been getting into the act. In May, one man in a “Make America Great Again” hat caused a ruckus on board a United Airlines flight at the Shanghai airport, causing the plane to be delayed for several hours while police led the man away.
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