A Delta flight from Los Angeles' LAX was diverted Friday night after an off-duty employee was detained for making alleged "terroristic threats" and attacking two flight attendants.
The plane headed for Atlanta was diverted to Oklahoma City around 5:45 p.m. local time when Stephon Jamar Duncan, 34, threatened to "take down the plane," according to police, KABC-TV reported.
Another off-duty Delta employee, a pilot, and the flight crew were able to detain the unruly passenger after he attacked two flight attendants, according to authorities.
The chaos forced an emergency landing in Oklahoma before it resumed service to Atlanta after being cleared by police. No one was injured, according to the report.
Delta released a statement thanking crew and passengers, KABC-TV reported:
"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."
The FBI reported Duncan exhibited "signs of mental health issues." He was taken an Oklahoma City hospital for examination for chest pains, and the case has been referred to the FBI. Local police charged him with assault and battery, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
Another passenger reported Duncan made an announcement to the passengers to be ready to put on their oxygen masks before attempting to open the "door to the plane," presumably the passenger door and not the cockpit.
"I was unaware of this, I was in the back of the plane," a passenger said in a video posted on social media. "A long two minutes after that first announcement, the pilot made an announcement and said 'all able-bodied men, please come to the floor, there's an emergency, come to the front,'" he said. "I got about halfway up before we were told to go back to our seats, the situation was under control."
This is the third incident on a Delta flight in the past few weeks, according to reports.
A rash of passenger incidents had FAA Administrator Steve Dickson warning of the legal troubles unruly passengers will face.
"A single incident can result in a fine and potential jail time, with the fine of up to $35,000 for individual events," Dickson said last month.
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