Criminal complaint filed against man who assaulted Delta flight attendant

A 23-year-old from Florida appeared in federal court Friday after an outburst that forced a Delta plane to return to Seattle Thursday night.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint Friday against a Tampa man for interfering with flight crew members and attendants on a Delta flight from Seattle.

Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, was on Delta Flight 129 to Beijing Thursday evening when he assaulted a flight attendant about 45 minutes into the flight.

Hudek, who was traveling on a dependent ticket, was seated in first class and asked for a beer before departure. He did not consume any other alcoholic beverages and did not appear intoxicated, according to the complaint.

About an hour into the flight, Hudek went to use the lavatory. When he exited, he lunged at the right exit door, grabbed the handle, and tried to open it.

Two flight attendants grabbed Hudek to keep him from opening the door, and Hudek pushed them away.

Hudek pushed the emergency release lever to a 90 degree angle, which flight attendants told investigators could allow the door to open at lower altitudes.

One of the flight attendants who was attacked asked several passengers for help and alerted the pilot to the security issue.

Meanwhile, Hudek punched the other flight attendant in the face several times and hit a passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, according to documents.

Another flight attendant hit Hudek over the head with two bottles of wine, breaking at least one. One flight attendant told investigators that Hudek "did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, 'Do you know who I am?'"

Several first class passengers helped restrain Hudek until the plane landed safely at Sea-Tac Airport and Hudek was taken into custody.

A flight attendant and a passenger were taken to the hospital with severe facial injuries, according to the complaint. Their injuries were serious, but non-life threatening injuries, according to Delta.

The flight re-departed to Beijing about midnight.

Delta flight attendants receive seven to eight weeks of initial training and recurrent training of which a "significant portion" focuses on the safety of passengers and flight attendants, according to a Delta spokesperson.

They are taught physical defense, when to ask other flight attendants for help, and then passengers for assistance.

© 2017 KING-TV


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