Delta Flight Leaves 3 Injured As ‘Security Issue’ Turns Plane Around Midflight

Delta Flight 129 was turned around about 45 minutes after departing Seattle, but two different sets of details emerged. Both descriptions of the events had the incident occurring in the first class section on board a Boeing 767 with an unruly passenger involved.

A passenger jet departed Seattle and was headed for Beijing on Thursday when over the skies of Canada an incident occurred. This incident prompted the pilot to turn the plane around and return to the location from which they had departed.

According to CNN News, the initial report indicated that an “unruly passenger attempted to enter the jet’s cockpit.” This information was obtained from “two people briefed on the incident.” This was in contradiction to what a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle Airport said in a later statement.

The spokesperson, Perry Cooper, indicated that the plane had turned back and landed in Seattle due to a passenger incident. Cooper said a “passenger attacked a flight attendant.” This took place in the first class cabin of the Delta jet.


According to USA Today, the passenger who attacked a flight attendant was a man, age 23, who was seated in the first-class section of the plane. It was about 45-minutes into the flight when he attacked the flight attendant.

Cooper said that this incident happened in the front part of the plane, which is an aircraft that has twin aisles. While the incident initially involved an unruly passenger and a flight attendant, several passengers got involved in an attempt to subdue the passenger causing the commotion.

A flight attendant and another passenger were injured, along with the unruly passenger, but the passenger who caused the problem declined medical attention when the flight safely landed back in Seattle. The other passenger and the flight attendant were taken to the hospital for their injuries, but the extent of their injuries is unknown.


The flight returned to the airport and touched down at about 7:40 p.m. local time. Dustin Jones, who was a witness in the airport, said that they took the passenger off the plane handcuffed with a zip-tie. He was wheeled off into the airport in a wheelchair and he was screaming for help the entire time. He flipped the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, but Jones said the man was “just being belligerent.”

The two people who were briefed on the incident told CNN that the flight returned “under a Department of Defense escort.” This information is contradicted by a Delta spokesperson who denied that the flight returned with an air escort from the Department of Defense.

A statement released by Delta indicated that a passenger needed to be restrained and then removed from the flight due to a “security incident’ during the flight. Once the flight returned to the gate, law enforcement took custody of the passenger.

[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]