OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Delta Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta was diverted to Oklahoma City Friday night because of an unruly passenger.
Officials say the passenger, an off-duty Delta flight attendant, was trying to make an announcement, telling passengers to get ready to use their oxygen masks. An on-duty flight attendant tried to stop him and a fight broke out. They say the suspect was not trying to open the door, contrary to some social media posts.
The pilot called for passengers to help stop the suspect.
People on board described what happened in those frightening moments.
“Over the intercom, a voice came on and said, ‘Everyone please return to your seats, and prepare to put on an oxygen mask,'” passenger Benjamin Curlee said. “That was quite startling to a lot of the people around us.”
“And over the loudspeaker, the pilot in the cockpit goes, ‘If we have any large men, we need you in the front of the plane immediately.’ And I was in first class, I was in the second row, and it went bonkers. People were being thrown around in the front, right behind the cockpit. And the men pushed him on the floor, and they were holding his legs down. And he was fighting them back extremely hard. His feet were flying in the air. The flight attendant, it looked like he got a concussion. And they were waiting for other flight attendants to bring more restraints to restrain him with wrists tied behind his back. And they finally got him down on the floor, five huge men holding him down,” passenger Brannon Nazarian said.
“We had no idea what was going on, could’ve been anything,” Curlee said. “I hopped up, headed down the aisle, said a quick prayer for my family in case I didn’t make it, and that was pretty much it. I had no idea what to expect – it’s like bullets could come flying at me; I have no idea, side of the plane could come flying, I don’t know.”
“People thought our plane was going down. It was extremely scary. I’m still shaken,” Nazarian said.
The suspect was taken away by police. The FBI is investigating now. The flight continued safely to Atlanta.
Delta released the following statement:
“Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 (LAX to ATL) who assisted in detaining an unruly passenger as the flight diverted to Oklahoma City (OKC). The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement. We apologize to our customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this caused.”DELTA SPOKESPERSON