An unruly passenger aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta made an emergency landing at the Oklahoma City airport on Friday, the airline said.
Crew members and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 subdued the man after he assaulted two flight attendants and, according to Oklahoma City police, said he was “going to take the plane down.”
The packed flight Friday night was about two hours away from its destination when an announcement on the intercom advised passengers to return to their seats and prepare to don their oxygen masks, according to passenger who spoke to local media.
Benjamin Curlee said the captain asked that “all able-bodied men please come to the front of the plane for an emergency.”
Curlee said he and a passenger next to him bolted from their seats but did not get very far.
“We got nowhere near because basically every man on the plane stepped up and was in the aisle,” Curlee said.
As they made their way to the front of the plane, Curlee said, a flight attendant said “the situation was under control” and asked them to return to their seats.
“It was very tense, very adrenaline fueled,” said Curlee.
Once the plane landed, the unruly passenger was taken into custody and transported to a hospital with minor injuries, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Jermaine Johnson said.
Passengers had to leave the plane as bomb technicians searched and cleared the aircraft, according to Johnson.
Curlee said other passengers later described the man as “very chaotic, very weird” and “very incoherent.” A passenger sitting next to the man told Curlee “he felt very uncomfortable with the guy” who asked “a lot of very personal questions” such as his name and the spelling.
The plane remained in Oklahoma City for more than three hours, according to FlightAware and landed in Atlanta shortly after 5:00am on Saturday.
The disruptive passenger was in the custody of the FBI.
The Federal Aviation Administration has received around 2,900 reports of “unruly behavior by passengers” this year, FAA spokeswoman Maria Njoku said in a statement.
About 2,200 of those reports involved passengers “refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate,” Njoko said.