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An American Airlines flight was diverted to Denver after a passenger punched a flight attendant in the face.

The flight left New York City on Wednesday and was meant to land in Santa Ana, California when an airport in Denver got an urgent request for the plane to land.

American Airlines said in a statement that the passenger “physically assaulted a flight attendant” but once the plane landed in Denver, the police “removed and apprehended the passenger”.

CNN reports that the head of American Airlines says the incident “is one of the worst displays of unruly behaviour we’ve ever witnessed.” CEO Doug Parker said it is supporting the injured flight attendant and banning the man accused of assaulting her from flying on the airline again.

“That is not enough”, said Parker. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure he is prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”

It’s believed the altercation started because of a face mask and that the passenger went to the back of the plane and punched the flight attendant in the face twice. NBC New York reports that the captain at one stage even asked the other passengers to help deescalate the situation.

Watch the NBC New York video below for more.

Image credit: Reuters

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