An unruly passenger was arrested after he punched a flight attendant in the back of the head on a flight from Cabo to LAX Wednesday afternoon.
Video captured by passenger Barrie Livingstone shows the attacker rush at the flight attendant and strike him from behind.
Livingstone said the agitated passenger attacked the attendant unprovoked after being told he could not use the lavatory up front because he wasn’t a first class passenger on the flight, American Airlines Flight 377.
“Once he started screaming at him, the flight attendant just turned around and I think he was going to go and do something,” Livingstone said. “But as he turned round and walked away, the guy jumped out of his seat, bolted down the middle and punched him in the back. It was totally unprovoked.”
Four other passengers then got up and helped restrain the attacker using zipties on his hands and feet.
“It felt like you were very helpless and then every 10 minutes, he sort of had Tourette’s [syndrome] and would just lash out and start screaming and shouting about being the messiah and feeling misunderstood,” Livingstone added.
Once the plane was safely on the ground, LAX police and FBI took the assailant into custody.
The airline sent KTLA a statement, reading in part: “Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future, and we will work closely with law enforcement in their investigation.
“We thank our crew for their quick action and professionalism to ensure the safety of their fellow team members and customers on board.”
“If there wasn’t anyone who could’ve got up, it could have been much worse,” Livingstone said.
Laura Eimiller, a spokesperson for FBI Los Angeles, confirmed that a person was taken into custody on suspicion of interference with a flight crew.
The FBI is working with the US Attorney’s Office to determine the appropriate charges, she added.
In the past couple of years, Los Angeles has seen 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 tried to fight an attendant and a US air marshal.
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