An 'out-of-control' passenger is facing federal charges after he forced an Atlanta-bound flight to land in Oklahoma City: authorities

An 'out-of-control' passenger is facing federal charges after he forced an Atlanta-bound flight to land in Oklahoma City: authorities
File photo of Delta Air Lines plane taking off from Miami International Airport, Florida on August 20, 2012.Alan Diaz/AP Photos
  • An off-duty Delta flight attendant accused of causing a disturbance on a Delta flight, is facing federal charges.
  • Authorities say Stephon Duncan forced an Atlanta-bound flight to divert to Oklahoma City last week.
  • He reportedly made announcements over the speaker system and said the plane was being taken over.

An "out-of-control" Georgia man is facing federal charges for allegedly causing a disturbance aboard a Delta flight, authorities said.

Stephon Duncan was charged in federal court with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants in connection to the incident last Friday, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Duncan caused a disturbance on Atlanta-bound Delta flight No. 1730, forcing the flight to be diverted to Oklahoma City, according to prosecutors. Police said Duncan was "out of control" during the "frightening" situation, according to WSBTV.

During the flight, Duncan told flight attendants that he was seated next to a terrorist, according to court documents reviewed by Insider. Prosecutors said he also stashed various personal items throughout the plane, including a tennis ball, food, and trash.

Duncan ignored crew members' orders to remain seated and stop frightening other passengers, according to court documents.


One crew member said Duncan, who is employed by Delta as a flight attendant, but was off-duty at the time of the incident, according to ABC News, used the plane's public address system to make false announcements to the cabin, including that the plane was being taken over.

When two crew members attempted to stop Duncan, he assaulted them by shoving them both and choking one, prosecutors said.

In trying to detain Duncan, flight crew members asked for help from passengers. Several crew members and passengers eventually subdued Duncan together, according to court documents.

Oklahoma City police spokesman Jermaine Johnson told ABC News that Duncan said he was going to take down the plane as it was traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta.

The incident comes amid a surge in unruly and disruptive passengers. Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Association cracked down on the troubling episodes, issuing a slew of hefty fines for airline delinquents.