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'We Simply Cannot Accept This As The New Normal': Flight Attendant Union President Calls For Change After Assault On Diverted American Airlines Flight

DENVER (CBS4)- An altercation on an American Airlines flight forced the plane to be diverted to Denver International Airport on Wednesday night. Cell phone video from those on board captures the moment the unruly passenger was removed from the plane and the booing from fellow passengers that followed.

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Mackenzie Rose was on that flight from JFK in New York destined for John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

"I hear somebody actually punched her twice. I actually saw her walk down the aisle with blood on her mask," said Rose.

Sources familiar with the investigation say the flight attendant accidentally bumped some passengers, A man then got up, walked to the galley and struck her.

"There was a doctor on the flight luckily, he said it wasn't broken, but she was bleeding, so they took her to the hospital," Another passenger said.

It is the latest example of growing disruption in the sky, capturing the attention of Congress.

Sara Nelson the President of the Association of Flight Attendants- CWA testified just a few weeks ago about the alarming rise in air rage incidents.

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"If we continue at this rate there may be more incidents in 2021 than in the entire history of aviation," she testified.

Nelson says 85% of all altercations this year are related to masks, but the second-highest factor is alcohol.

They would like to-go alcohol at airports to end and see more serious consequences for anyone who disrupts their work.

"We need DOJ criminal enforcement make we need to make the FAA's zero-tolerance policy permanent," Nelson said.

The latest assault sent the flight attendant to a Denver hospital, yet another example of what Nelson says is getting increasingly violent and has become far too common.

"We simply cannot accept this as the new normal," Nelson said.

It's unclear if alcohol or any substance was a factor in the altercation on American Airlines Wednesday night.

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The U.S. Attorney's office released a statement saying in part they take threats to the safety of airline flights seriously and are actively investigating the incident along with the FBI.

As of Thursday evening, no charges had been filed.

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