China-bound Delta flight turns back after passenger attack on crew

Man was subdued by fellow passengers and arrested after the plane returned to Seattle

A Delta Air Lines aircraft lines up for take-off at BWI Thurgood Marshall International Airport near Baltimore, Maryland. The US airline said a flight from Seattle to Beijing turned back on July 6, 2017 after an incident in the first-class cabin. Cameron / Reuters / October 24, 2012
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SEATTLE // A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Beijing turned back to Seattle on Thursday after a passenger in the first-class cabin assaulted a flight attendant before being subdued by other travellers.

The flight attendant and a passenger were sent to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening after the Boeing 767-300 landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The male passenger was arrested, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said.

Delta flight 129 took off from the airport at around 5.30pm, but turned back roughly 45 minutes into the flight, Mr Cooper said.

He said the man assaulted a flight attendant in the first-class cabin and several passengers intervened to help subdue him. The pilot decided to turn back and call for police, fire, and medical personnel to meet the plane.

The FBI said it was interviewing passengers and had no information to suggest the incident was a threat to national security.

A Delta spokeswoman denied media reports that the plane was escorted back to Seattle by military jets.

The flight was rescheduled for later on Thursday.