Man who caused diversion of Delta Flight sentenced to probation

TULSA, Okla. – A Washington man who forced a Delta Air Lines flight to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma earlier this year has been sentenced following his plea agreement.

Officials say his charge stems from a disturbance on Delta Air Lines flight 1156 from Portland, Oregon to Atlanta, Georgia on May 30.

According to an affidavit, 29-year-old Bolutife Olorunda, of Vancouver, Washington, verbally assaulted and interfered with a flight attendant on the aircraft.

Because of his behavior, the pilot and Captain of the plane declared an “emergency” and diverted the aircraft to Tulsa International Airport for an emergency landing.

“Airline passengers must follow the lawful directions of flight crew members. As this case shows, there are serious consequences when one does not abide by the rules of the flight. There are no exceptions. This defendant’s actions caused a flight to be diverted to Tulsa. Diverted flights are costly to the airlines and extremely inconvenient to other travelers,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “More importantly, defiant and belligerent behavior potentially places lives at risk. The crew and Federal Air Marshals are to be applauded for swiftly handling the situation and ensuring the safety of those aboard Delta flight 1156.”

In July, Olorunda pleaded guilty to assault within maritime and territorial jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to three months of probation. And, as a part of his plea agreement, he will pay restitution to Delta Air Lines in the amount of $9,118 for the cost of diverting the flight for an emergency landing. He will also face a civil penalty, which includes significant fines from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration.