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Off-duty attendant could face 20 years in prison after Atlanta-bound flight forced to land early

The unruly passenger had to be restrained by several other passengers and taken off the aircraft by law enforcement following a diverted landing in Oklahoma City.

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Atlanta man and off-duty flight attendant could be facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted for his actions on a Delta flight days earlier.

Authorities said the man was charged in an Oklahoma federal court with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendance according to Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

Officials confirmed that the man, an off-duty Delta flight attendant, had to be restrained after getting ahold of the PA system at the front of the plane near the cockpit during an overnight flight Saturday into Sunday. He's accused of fighting off other flight staff when they tried to gain control of the situation.

At one point, flight attendants called for able-bodied men on the flight to help subdue the passenger.

Ultimately, the flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta had to be diverted to Oklahoma City. A Delta spokesperson said the aircraft arrived without incident and the suspect was removed by law enforcement.

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The newly announced charge now means the off-duty attendant faces the possibility of 20 years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000, followed by three years of supervised release.

The case so far has been the result of an investigation by the FBI's Oklahoma Field Office and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Authorities haven't yet said why the off-duty attendant may have taken the action that day.

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