Passenger disturbance forces Beijing-bound Delta Air Lines flight to return to Seattle


Delta Air Lines

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. Picture taken September 28, 2013.

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Beijing returned to Seattle on Thursday after a passenger in the first-class cabin assaulted a crew member before being subdued by other travelers, a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesman said.


Two people were sent for medical treatment for non-life-threatening injuries after the plane landed safely shortly after 7 p.m., airport spokesman Perry Cooper said.

The unruly male passenger was taken into custody by local law enforcement assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cooper said.

Delta flight 129 departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at around 5:30 p.m., but headed back to Seattle roughly 45 minutes into the flight, Cooper said.

Cooper said the man assaulted a flight attendant in the first-class cabin, but he had no further details on what triggered the incident. He said it was not a national security matter.


Numerous passengers intervened to help subdue the suspect. The pilot decided to turn back and call for law enforcement and medics to meet the plane, Cooper said.

Lorie Dankers, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, said there was no security breach at the airport, south of Seattle.

A representative for Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)