An American Airlines cabin attendant who was struck on the nose by a passenger last week suffered a concussion after being diverted to Denver, where the passenger was arrested, and had to be picked up on a stretcher. US attorney’s office for Colorado.
According to the criminal complaint, 20-year-old passenger Brian Hsu from Irvine, California, was charged with assault and interfering with a flight crew.
The flight attendant was hospitalized after American Airlines Flight 976, bound for Santa Ana, California, from New York City was diverted to Denver International Airport on Wednesday.
Doctors determined that the flight attendant had suffered a concussion, according to the file of an FBI agent investigating the case. According to the file, he had a CT scan, but doctors “could not determine if his nose was broken due to the swelling,” he said.
According to the statements made by passengers who witnessed the incident to the FBI agent, the flight attendant asked Mr. Hsu to stay away from the bathroom, and Mr. Hsu “punched him in the face with enough force to cause him to slam against the toilet door. Another eyewitness said that the passenger “hit him with his fist in what appeared to be practiced or trained”.
After the flight attendant was hit, another flight attendant repeatedly asked Mr. Hsu to sit in his seat, according to the file. Mr. Hsu initially did not comply, but eventually sat down, and then a witness told authorities that Mr. Hsu was held with tape and then “plastic ties”.
Mr. Hsu gave a different explanation to the authorities. He said he had returned to California from New York in the fall of 2020 after undergoing brain surgery to “reconstruct parts of his skull” in Rhode Island after being attacked in New York and suffering a skull injury.
Mr. Hsu said he got up from his seat on the plane to use the toilet and yawn. Mr. Hsu said he accidentally bumped into the flight attendant while he was yawning, and the woman started waving at him with her hands. Mr. Hsu said he “stepped back into his seat and raised his hands defensively” and “slammed his nose into the palm of his right hand”.
Mr. Hsu told authorities that he sometimes experiences a “mental ‘fog'” and “fears that, in his current state, a blow to the head could cause serious injury or death,” according to the complaint.
The flight attendant told officials that the pilot told Mr. Hsu that he couldn’t use the toilet because the plane had turned on the “fasten the seat belt” signs and had to go back to his seat, according to the file.
Mr. Hsu was later said to have “attacked him by waving his arms”.
A federal public defender appointed to represent Mr. Hsu did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night.
Inside Video message posted on InstagramDoug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, described the encounter as “one of the worst demonstrations of rebellious behavior we have ever witnessed”.
Mr. Parker said in the video message that Mr. Hsu would never be allowed to fly with American Airlines again, adding that such discussions “happen very often”.
“This kind of behavior must be stopped,” he said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, this event is one of thousands that has occurred this year. By October 26, the FAA had registered more than 4,900 reports of unruly travelers, in addition to more than 3,500 face mask-related incident reports this year.
Inside Declaration On October 28, the Professional Flight Attendants Association said banning the passenger from future American Airlines flights “does not solve the fundamental problem” and called for the FAA and the Department of Transportation to implement a “no-fly” list. Includes all airlines.
“We need to keep pushing,” the association said. “We need more police at airports, increased fines for appalling behavior, and stronger, enforceable criminal penalties.”
Inside statement in SeptemberFAA director Steve Dickson said the number of incidents fell after the agency introduced a “zero tolerance” policy towards unruly travelers; policy favors direct fines rather than warning letters.
“Our work is making an impact and the trend is moving in the right direction,” said Mr Dickson. “But we need progress to keep going. This remains a serious security threat and is too much of an event.”