An unruly passenger was arrested after punching a flight attendant in the back of the head on a flight from Cabo to LAX on Wednesday afternoon.
Video captured by passenger Barrie Livingstone shows the assailant lunging at the flight attendant and punching him from behind.
Livingstone said the agitated passenger attacked the attendant without provocation after learning he could not use the lavatory up front because he was not a first class passenger on the flight, Flight 377 d ‘American Airlines.
“Once he started yelling at him, the flight attendant turned around and I think he was going to do something,” Livingstone said. “But as he turned and walked away, the guy jumped out of his seat, rushed in the middle and kicked him in the back. It was totally unprovoked.
Four other passengers then got up and helped restrain the attacker using zippers on his hands and feet.
“It was like you were very helpless and then every 10 minutes he kind of had tourette [syndrome] and would go wild and start screaming and screaming about being the messiah and feeling misunderstood,” Livingstone added.
Once the plane was safely grounded, LAX police and the FBI arrested the attacker.
The airline sent KTLA a statement, reading in part: “Acts of violence against our crew members are not tolerated by American Airlines. The person involved in this incident will never be permitted to travel with us again in the future, and we will be working closely with law enforcement in their investigation.
“We thank our crew for their speed of action and their professionalism in ensuring the safety of their teammates and customers on board.”
“If there was no one who could have stood up, it could have been much worse,” Livingstone said.
FBI Los Angeles spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed that a person has been taken into custody on suspicion of interfering with a flight crew.
The FBI is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine appropriate charges, she added.
Over the past two years, Los Angeles has experienced multiple situations involving unruly passengers.
A flight from LAX to Washington was diverted to Kansas City after a passenger tried to open a door in February.
Another flight from Washington, DC to LAX was diverted to Oklahoma City in December after a passenger attempted to fight off an attendant and a US Air Marshal.
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