An American Airlines flight attendant disrupted a flight Friday morning as it was about to take off from Dallas-Fort Worth en route to Chicago, saying over the aircraft intercom system that the plane was going to crash, alluding to 9/11 terrorist attacks and ranting exorcism and about the airline’s bankruptcy.
A cell phone video showing for the first time the flight attendant who caused panic aboard AA flight has emerged today.
The video obtained by NBC Chicago shows a middle-aged woman with reddish-brown hair in uniform convulsing and obviously distressed, yelling at co-workers trying to subdue her to “get out of my way!”.
Passengers were alarmed at her violent, erratic behavior.
“Everyone started freaking out,” passenger Bethany Christakos said.
“She spoke in and out of Spanish,” passenger Carolyn Kazmi told NBC Chicago.
“She talked about the flight crashing, that we were going to go back to the gate.”
Other passengers said that the woman made frequent comments about her medication, and expressed their relief that they weren’t in the air.
Customer Brad LeClear made the call to 911 and then helped assist the flight crew in trying to subdue the woman.
“She claimed when we were holding her, I tried to talk her down and calm her down a little bit,” he told the station.
“She said she was bipolar.”
Flight 2332 was halted after the woman commandeered the plane’s public address system and told passengers there were technical difficulties.
First class travelers helped the cabin crew subdue the attendant, after she started screaming random things like she was “not responsible for crashing this plane” and that they couldn’t take off because there wasn’t enough ice on board, according to witnesses.
The Chicago-bound flight had already departed the gate at Dallas-Fort Worth airport and was just about to take off at about 8:25 a.m., the Dallas Observer reported.
Another attendant tried to calm worried passengers as the woman continued to ramble about America Airlines’ bankruptcy and “rant” about 9/11, said a law enforcement source.
She also reportedly complained about union issues. It took at least five people to restrain the woman.
One passenger said she had to be “thrown into the first row of seats and held down” and sounded “demonic”.
“It was unbelievable”, passenger Bethany Christakos told the Dallas Observer, adding the out-of-control attendant was “screaming bloody murder”.
The woman shrieked as she was handcuffed by police and placed into a police car about 15 minutes after the “altercation” first started.
“She was just screaming – blood-curdling screams,” said Bethany Christakos.
“I will never get that sound of her screaming out of my head.”
Passenger Greg Lozano said: “We were pretty frightened. I was glad we weren’t in the air.”
The plane was turned around and taxied back to the gate, where state trooper escorted two stewardesses off the aircraft.
One of the women was seen fighting police and “kicking and screaming” as she was put in a patrol car.
Both women were later treated in a nearby hospital.
Passengers claimed they heard the attendant, whose name was being withheld, was “off her meds” and suffered from bipolar.
In a statement, American Airlines said the entire crew was replaced and the flight eventually took off for Chicago at 9:46 a.m.
The rest of the journey went smoothly thanks to liberal quantities of alcohol, said Bethany Christakos.
“The attendants were nicer than I ever seen,” she said.
“They completely ran out of alcohol.”
“We commend our other crew members for their assistance in quickly getting the aircraft back to the gate so that customers could be re-accommodated,” American Airlines said.
“Our customers were not in danger at any time. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and we appreciate their patience and understanding.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said there was “an altercation on board the plane and that’s why it returned to the gate and police were called.”