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Flight heading to California diverted to Denver after flight attendant assaulted

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Posted at 6:48 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 10:46:11-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) - An investigation is underway Thursday into an incident involving an American Airlines flight bound for John Wayne Airport in Orange County, which was diverted to Denver after a passenger allegedly assaulted a flight attendant.

"American Airlines Flight 976, an Airbus 321 flying from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., diverted to Denver International Airport due to a passenger disturbance," the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Thursday morning.

"The plane landed without incident around 6:37 p.m. (Wednesday) local time. The FAA will investigate," the FAA reported.

The incident occurred about halfway through the flight when it was over Ohio, passenger Mackenzie Rose told CBSLA.

Several witnesses said the assault occurred over a dispute about wearing a mask, according to CBSLA. The passenger was taken into custody when the plane landed.

"American Airlines flight 976 with service from New York (JFK) to Santa Ana (SNA) diverted to Denver (DEN) due to a passenger who physically assaulted a flight attendant," American Airlines said in a statement. "The aircraft landed safely and taxied to the gate where law enforcement removed and apprehended the passenger.

"We are outraged by the reports of what took place on board. Acts of violence against our team members will not be tolerated by American Airlines. We have engaged local law enforcement and the FBI and we are working with them to ensure they have all the information they need. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with American Airlines in the future, but we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This behavior must stop, and aggressive enforcement and prosecution of the law is the best deterrent.

"We thank our crew for their quick action and professionalism to ensure the safety of their fellow team members and customers on board. Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant and ensuring that she and her fellow crew members have the support they need at this time."