Delta passenger accused of trying to open emergency exit

It took several passengers and two flight attendants to subdue an unruly man who tried to open the emergency exit door during a Delta flight.

According to a criminal complaint, Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, of Tampa, tried several times to open the latch to the door and assaulted a passenger and crew member who tried to stop him.

The incident happened Thursday night on Delta flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing.

Before takeoff, the complaint states that Hudek asked for a beer. He did not have any other alcoholic drinks during the flight and “exhibited no signs of intoxication or impairment.”

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About an hour into the flight, Hudek, seated in first class and flying on a “dependent pass,” got up and went to the bathroom. The complaint states that Hudek left the bathroom and asked a flight attendant a question before returning to the restroom.

A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the suspect’s head during the scuffle.

A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the suspect’s head during the scuffle.

(FBI via U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle/via AP)

After leaving the bathroom a second time, Hudek made a dash for the emergency exit door, grabbed the handle and attempted to open it.

Two flight attendants rushed over to get Hudek away from the door and he shoved them, the document reads.

One of the flight attendants signaled for a passenger to help and notified the cockpit of the situation. The pilot of the Boeing 767 alerted the Federal Aviation Administration and the plane was diverted back to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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As the aircraft made the return back to Seattle, the flight attendants and several passengers tried to subdue Hudek. The scuffle got so chaotic that Hudek allegedly punched one of the crew members in her face and hit a passenger over the head with a wine bottle.

A fight broke out on a Delta flight after a passenger tried to open the exit door.

A fight broke out on a Delta flight after a passenger tried to open the exit door.

(Ted S. Warren/AP)

Hudek then tried to open the exit door again. According to the complaint when another passenger stepped in to help, Hudek allegedly hit the man several times. A flight attendant was eventually able to grab two wine bottles and hit Hudek over the head with them, breaking one of the bottles.

Several other passengers got involved and were able to hold Hudek down long enough for zip ties to be placed on him. Even while restrained, Hudek “remained extremely combative,” the complaint states.

Hudek was arrested and charged Friday with one count of interference with flight crew members. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

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