Last updated: 10:42 PM ET, Sat January 09 2016

Out-Of-Control Flier Attacks Flight Attendant, Secured With Makeshift Restraints

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | January 09, 2016

Out-Of-Control Flier Attacks Flight Attendant, Secured With Makeshift Restraints

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Miscellaneous wardrobe items served as restraints for an out-of-control air passenger who attacked a member of the cabin crew Thursday night on a New York-to-Chicago flight.

According to CBS New York, United Airlines Flight 3461, operated by Shuttle America, diverted to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, where Breanna Farquharson, 22, was arrested and charged with assaulting a crew member.

The FBI said in a court filing, via CBS New York, that Farquharson scratched a flight attendant’s lip, and pulled off her necklace and employee badge after she “frantically requested” to get off the plane about a half hour into the flight.

Passenger Matt Goldgraben told Suzanne Le Mignot of CBS2 Chicago that he started hearing the woman screaming and cursing.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m bipolar, I forgot to take my medication,’ and then continued with the yelling and the screaming,” Goldgraben said to Le Mignot. Then, he continued, “She kind of jumped up at the flight attendant and started screaming at her to get away from her and was clawing at her face and neck and ripping her necklace off. And it just was like slow motion, how it all went down,” he said. “It was pretty unbelievable. I’d never had an incident on a plane before,” he told Le Mignot.

Four passengers moved to restrain Farquharson, who was uncontrollably punching and kicking. According to CBS New York, the fliers were forced to use a belt, necktie and apron to secure her.

“People began to give us belts and scarves, and we tied it up, and those aren’t really effective,” Fitzsimmons said to Le Mignot, adding that the airlines didn’t seem to have a firm procedure for such a situation. Fitzsimmons said, “Once we restrained the individual, we must have realized that there was no sort of protocol as we asked… ‘Are there zip ties? Is there duct tape?’” he told Le Mignot. “The airline industry has to be thinking about, what are some of the protocols? What is some of the training?”

In response, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said to CBS New York that the union has been asking for out-of-control passenger training since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Nelson added, “Crewmembers are often the target of ill intent or spontaneous aggression. We need all of the tools and training necessary.”

The 69 passengers and four crew arrived at Chicago O’Hare about an hour late, CBS New York said.


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