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American Airlines Jet Delayed by ‘Altercation’

An American Airlines flight was delayed Friday by an altercation that passengers say started when a flight attendant ranted about the plane crashing. Passengers said several people wrestled the flight attendant into a seat while the plane was still on the ground at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

American Airlines Plane
Flickr User Rene Schwietzke

Bethany Christakos of Dallas, seated toward the rear of the plane, said passengers started “freaking out” as one of the flight attendants gave a rambling, 15-minute speech on the plane’s public-address system.

“She said, `I’m not responsible for this plane crashing,”‘ Christakos said.

Another passenger, Stephen Tremunde, said, “We were pretty frightened. She made two comments that if we didn’t go back to the gate we would crash.”

Brad LeClear of Fox Lake, Ill., said he was one of several passengers who restrained the flight attendant, whom he said acted oddly and mentioned something about 9-11. “She is obviously sick and needs to take her medicine,” LeClear said.

Some passengers called 911, while others used the PA system to beg the pilot to return to the terminal. In a passenger’s video obtained by The Associated Press, a woman can be heard sobbing while another woman reassures her, “It’s OK … thank goodness we’re on the ground.”

A federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing said that airport police determined the incident was a medical issue and not a security threat.

The official said the flight attendant was taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas for evaluation.  After the plane, Flight 2332, had pushed away from the gate Friday morning, the pilot radioed air traffic controllers for permission to return to the gate and to be met by airport police.

American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle said that “an incident occurred involving some of the cabin crew,” and that two flight attendants were taken to local hospitals for treatment. He declined to provide their names or information about their injuries or conditions.

Martelle said the cabin crew was replaced and the plane, Flight 2332, took off for Chicago’s O’Hare Airport about 80 minutes behind schedule. He said customers were not in danger at any time.

A spokesman for DFW Airport said no state criminal charges were being considered.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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