An American Airlines flight headed from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago returned to the gate just prior to take off this morning when a female flight attendant began making inflammatory remarks over the public address system.
Greg Lozano, a passenger on the flight, told ABC News "The last thing she said [before they took the mic from her] was 'hey pilot, I'm not going to be responsible for your crash.'"
Passengers intervened and restrained the flight attendant before Dallas airport police boarded the flight. The Dallas Morning News reports passengers said police escorted the flight attendant, kicking and screaming, to one of several police cars that surrounded the plane on the tarmac.
Passenger Brad LeClear helped restrain the disturbed woman and said she put up quite a struggle, even as she was being held by passengers. "She told me she was bipolar," he said.
Bethany Christakos said she heard two flight attendants arguing in an "unprofessional conversation" about whether the flight was going to take off or return to the terminal. She said she will "never forget" the sound of the one attendant's "blood curdling screams" just before authorities took her off the flight. "I will never get the sound out of my head," she said.
The airline is treating the incident as a medical issue.
Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport say two females were transported to local hospitals after the incident, one to Parkland Health and Hospital System, and one to Baylor Grapevine.
A source tells ABC News that in addition to the remarks about the plane crashing, the flight attendant may have referenced 9/11 and American Airlines' union issues.
American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Nov. 29, 2011. Bloomberg reports that union groups, including flight attendants, on Thursday asked mediators to join talks with management as the carrier seeks $1.25 billion in labor concessions, including 13,000 job cuts.
American Airlines said in a statement:
"This morning Flight 2332 had left the gate at DFW bound for Chicago, when an incident occurred involving some of the cabin crew. The aircraft returned to the gate, where it was met by Department of Public Safety officers. Two flight attendants were taken to local hospitals for treatment. We continue to investigate the details and circumstances and will have no further comment at this time.
We will ensure that the affected flight attendants receive proper care, and we commend our other crew members for their assistance in quickly getting the aircraft back to the gate so that customers could be re-accommodated. Our customers were not in danger at any time.
The cabin crew was replaced. The flight departed for Chicago at 9:46 a.m., and is scheduled to land around noon. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and we appreciate their patience and understanding."
Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport tell ABC News they are not pursuing any charges at this time.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants has also issued a statement:
"There was an unfortunate but non-violent confrontation involving a flight attendant aboard an aircraft preparing for takeoff this morning at DFW.
Passenger accounts have been reported in the media but details remain sketchy.
The incident is being investigated by the proper authorities with the full cooperation of APFA. APFA representatives have been in contact with the crew, the company, and the authorities and are providing assistance as needed. No one was seriously injured and the flight to ORD did eventually take off with a different flight attendant crew."
- American Airlines
- flight attendant