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Flight Attendants Rush to Help Colleague Who Was Assaulted by Unruly Passenger Who Then Tried to Enter Cockpit, Forcing Emergency Diversion to Newark

Flight Attendants Rush to Help Colleague Who Was Assaulted by Unruly Passenger Who Then Tried to Enter Cockpit, Forcing Emergency Diversion to Newark

a plane flying in the sky

Flight attendants onboard a SWISS International Air Lines from Newark to Zurich on Sunday night had to rush towards the flight deck after they heard a scream over the public address system as one of their flight attendants was being assaulted by an unruly passenger who then attempted to break into the cockpit.

Passengers onboard the flight described an unsettling atmosphere as it dawned on them that something was amiss as cabin crew sprinted towards the front of the aircraft before an eery silence descended on the cabin.

SWISS Flight LX19 departed Newark Liberty International Airport at around 10:19 pm on Sunday for what should have been a quick seven-hour transatlantic crossing to Switzerland aboard an Airbus A330.

But while the fully booked 13-year-old aircraft with 236 passengers and 13 crew members was still in its initial ascent, the pilots were forced to declare an emergency and request an immediate return to Newark to deal with the unruly passenger.

In an audio recording of air traffic control communication, the pilots told authorities that the crew had been unable to restrain the suspect, and he was freely roaming around the cabin.

Once on the ground, the aircraft had to be met by the airport fire service due to hot brakes, while local law enforcement boarded the plane and took the suspect into custody.

Local Swiss media reported that the injured female flight attendant had to be taken to the hospital but has since been released and has already returned to Switzerland.

In a statement, SWISS said that a passenger “behaved abusively towards the crew” and that the flight had to be cancelled as a result of the diversion back to Newark.

A spokesperson told Swiss newspaper Blick that the crew member suffered a ‘minor injury’ and that the safety of the cockpit was “guaranteed at all times”. The spokesperson denied witness accounts that the Captain ordered passengers over the public address system to keep their hands visible.

In a statement, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said: “On Sunday, March 31, a Swiss Airline flight headed to Zurich returned to Newark Liberty International Airport due to a report of an unruly passenger.”

“Port Authority police arrested the individual and charged him with interference with transportation and assault. The man was released with a court desk appearance.”

The flight was grounded overnight, and the plane returned to Zurich the following evening. Passengers were rebooked onto other flights.

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