LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A cross-country flight from California to Georgia had to be diverted to Oklahoma after a man became unruly and had to be detained by fellow passengers and the flight crew Friday night.
Delta Flight 1730, going from Los Angeles to Atlanta, was forced to divert when a man became unruly mid-flight. The aircraft landed in Oklahoma City where the man was removed by law enforcement officials. Delta confirmed that the passenger in question was an off-duty flight attendant for the company, though a spokesperson said they could not add any more information given the ongoing investigation.
Passengers on the flight who witnessed the incident said the man made a strange announcement over the plane's PA system, telling everyone to take their seats and prepare to put on their oxygen masks. That's when they say the disruptive passenger attempted to open the cabin door.
Delta Airlines said the man did not try to open the cabin door, but confirmed that the flight crew had to restrain the individual while the pilot diverted to Oklahoma City.
This latest incident comes on the heels of several other problems with unruly passengers during or just after a flight.
Last week, on Delta Flight 386 from LA to Nashville, a man attempted to break into the cockpit, yelling, "We need to land this plane." Another incident in May resulted in a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego, being violently attacked by a female passenger.
Dr. Moe Gelbart of the Torrance Memorial Medical Center told CBSLA's Rick Montanez that these acts could be related to pandemic-induced post-traumatic stress syndrome.
"Something triggered those people. They weren't trying to hijack the plan. Something triggered them. It's similar to road rage."
Benjamin Curlee, who was on the flight, posted a video about the ordeal on social media.
Curlee said he was in the back of the plane at the time of the incident, and heard an announcement from the pilot over the intercom that said "all able-bodied men come to the front of the plane, there is an emergency."
According to Curlee, he got halfway up to the front of the plane before crew members said the situation was under control and asked passengers to return to their seats.
In a video posted to Twitter by another witness, a man can be seen screaming obscenities as multiple people try to hold him back. A woman on a different part of the plane can be heard saying 'help' multiple times as the man is yelling.
A Delta spokesperson released this statement about the incident:
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.
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