Video Shows American Airlines Passenger Punching a Flight Attendant in Back of Head Mid-Air
Passengers help apprehend unruly Californian traveler after assault.
Alexander Tung Cu Le was arrested after allegedly punching a flight attendant on a flight from Mexico to Los Angeles. A fellow passenger recorded the incident. The 33-year-old from Westminster was "charged with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison," stated federal prosecutors. Read more to learn what happened during the flight and how other passengers interfered with apprehending the Californian traveler.
Le seemed a challenging passenger from the start. In the video, twenty minutes after takeoff he stands up from his seat during food and beverage service. According to prosecutors, "Le grabbed one flight attendant's left shoulder from behind and asked for coffee. Moments later, Le grabbed both of the flight attendant's shoulders from behind. After the flight attendant stepped back and put up a defensive posture, Le walked to the front of the airplane." Keep reading to learn more and see the video.
The unruly passenger wanders toward the first-class cabin and sits down in an unoccupied seat near the divider of the first-class cabin. When a different flight attendant asks Le to return to his seat, Le becomes threatening, "Le did not comply and allegedly stood up and assumed a fighting stance towards the flight attendant by making closed fists with both of his hands," wrote prosecutors. It is then that things really get out of hand.
Le doesn't comply and swings his arm towards the flight attendant. The flight attendant walks away to report the passenger to the pilot. In a video captured by another passenger, we see Le charging toward the flight attendant and punching him from behind in the head.
The fellow passengers react in shock, asking the aggressor "what are you doing?" reports NBC. When Le moves towards the back of the plane passengers, help apprehend him while flight attendants use seatbelt extenders to keep him in his seat during the remainder of the flight.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles Le is awaited by the police and charged by the FBI with "Interfering with a flight crew." Additionally, Le is banned from all future American Airlines flights. "U.S. airlines reported a dramatic rise in disruptive or violent incidents last year, with the Federal Aviation Administration," says NBC News. In 2021 5,981 Unruly Passenger Reports were filed with the FAA, of which 4290 were mask-related incidents.
Watch the video here.