Florida

Tampa man attacked flight attendant, forced plane to land, Delta says

A Florida man was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma airport on charges that he attacked a Delta flight attendant on a Beijing-bound flight.
A Florida man was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma airport on charges that he attacked a Delta flight attendant on a Beijing-bound flight. AP

A Beijing-bound flight from Seattle had to turn back Thursday night after a Florida man allegedly attacked a flight attendant, authorities said.

Joseph Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, was arrested by the Port of Seattle Police Department at Seattle-Tacoma airport and taken to federal detention at around 7 p.m. Thursday, FBI spokeswoman Kelsey Pietranton wrote in an email. The AP reported that he was sitting in first class and that the incident occurred about 45 minutes into the flight.

The motive for the alleged attack was unclear. The U.S. Attorney’s Office denied media reports that Hudek was trying to enter the cockpit of the plane, and said information about the charge and arrest would not be available until the government has the opportunity to request a hearing.

The flight attendant and one other person were injured and taken to a hospital.

“The passenger was restrained on board and was removed from the flight by law enforcement without further incident when the aircraft arrived back in Seattle,” Delta spokesman Michael Thomas said in a statement. The flight re-departed for Beijing later that night.

Passengers were interviewed by Port of Seattle police and FBI agents. FBI and Sea-Tac officials said the incident is not thought to be a national security threat.

Hudek was expected to appear in federal court in Seattle Friday afternoon on a federal charge related to the assault.

The FBI’s investigation is ongoing.

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