A Delta Airlines flight attendant on Thursday night smashed a wine bottle over the head of a male passenger who lunged for an exit door and assaulted a flight attendant and fellow passenger during a Beijing-bound flight from Seattle, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by prosecutors in Washington State.
Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, Florida, appeared in U.S. District Court on Friday. He did not speak during the hearing. His attorney, Robert Flennaugh II, declined to comment, according to The AP.
Hudek was charged with interfering with a flight crew. He is expected to remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on July 13.
Delta said in a statement Thursday, "Flight 129 returned to Seattle following a security incident with a passenger. 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." There were 207 passengers on board, according to Delta.
The Boeing 767 turned around about an hour after takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to an airport spokesperson. The aircraft was northwest of Canada's Vancouver Island over the Pacific Ocean.
According to the complaint, first class passenger Hudek went into the forward restroom. He came out quickly, asked the attendant a question, and went back in.
When Hudek exited the restroom two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door, grabbed the handle and tried to open it. Two attendants grabbed him, but he pushed them away, and the attendants signaled for help from several passengers and notified the cockpit by telephone, the complaint said.
Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and struck at least one passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, according to the complaint.
As the struggle raged one, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek over the head with each, breaking at least one of them.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle released the photo below of the aftermath of the incident.
According to one flight attendant cited in the complaint, "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?' or something to that extent."
One passenger got him in a head-lock, but he broke out of it, until finally several passengers held him long enough to place zip-tie restraints on him.
A passenger and a flight attendant were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries in connection with the incident.
Delta flight 129 landed safely at 7:10 p.m., and Hudek was arrested.
The Atlanta-based airline said the flight re-departed for Beijing later on Thursday.
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