DENVER (CBS4)– Passengers expressed their feelings with loud boos when a man who had struck a female flight attendant was escorted off the plane diverted to Denver International Airport on Wednesday night. He was not immediately arrested or charged despite what passengers recalled.

(credit: CBS)

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Mackenzie Rose was a passenger on the American Airlines flight from New York JFK to Santa Ana, California.

“I heard somebody actually punched her twice. I actually saw her walk down the aisle with blood on her mask,” she said.

Sources familiar with the investigation say the flight attendant accidentally bumped some passengers. A man then got up and struck her.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker issued a video statement, “We had one of the worst displays of unruly behavior we have ever witnessed when a passenger violently physically assaulted an American Airlines flight attendant.”

The plane continued on to Santa Ana without the injured flight attendant who was taken to hospital in Denver and later released.

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Another passenger said the injured woman had help onboard the plane, “There was a doctor on the flight luckily, he said it wasn’t broken, but she was bleeding so they took her to the hospital.”

(credit: CBS)

The airline banned the man from flying with them ever again.

Parker added, “Let me assure you American Airlines will not tolerate airport or inflight misconduct of any kind particularly toward a crew member or our airport team.”

The investigation into the incident is continuing with charges possible once it is completed.

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The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI are investigating the case. They said in a statement that they take “seriously all matters involving potential threats to the safety of airline flights, crew, or passengers.”

Rick Sallinger