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A Delta Air Lines flight headed for Los Angeles was diverted to Oklahoma City on Thursday after an "unruly passenger" allegedly assaulted a flight attendant and a federal air marshal. © Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Ariel Pennington, 35, was arrested on complaints of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness
Oklahoma City (OKC) police were informed around 7:15 p.m. local time that the flight from Washington D.C. to L.A. was stopping at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma "due to a flight attendant being assaulted by an unruly passenger," according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
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The passenger, identified by OKC police as Ariel Pennington, 35, allegedly assaulted the air marshal after getting "combative" with a flight attendant, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Police say officers boarded the plane upon its arrival in Oklahoma City and arrested Pennington on complaints of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Pennington was subsequently booked into the Oklahoma City Detention Center. According to KTLA5, he was bonded out of jail after five hours and paid $334 in fines.
RELATED: Cross-Country American Airlines Flight Diverted After Passenger Allegedly Assaulted Flight Attendant
The investigation into the incident is ongoing and the FBI is expected to bring charges against Pennington, CBS Los Angeles said. It is unclear if Pennington has obtained an attorney.
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Video of the alleged incident has since surfaced on social media. An Instagram video appears to show a portion of the altercation, beginning with the apparent suspect yelling in the face of an air marshal in the middle of the plane cabin's aisle.
The air marshal asks the passenger to sit down numerous times, and the individual briefly complies after initially appearing to refuse. After getting up against orders twice, the marshal handcuffs him.
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A spokesperson for Delta Air Lines confirmed the incident in a statement to PEOPLE.
"Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew and Federal Air Marshals on Delta flight 342 from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles," the spokesperson said.
First Nations, regional district in B.C. working together to restore diverted river
A British Columbia regional district and three neighbouring First Nations have agreed to work together to restore a river that has been diverted for the last 70 years in order to generate hydroelectricity for aluminum smelting and the province's power grid. The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Nadleh Whuten, Saik'uz and Stellat'en First Nations formalized their partnership to improve the health of the Nechako River in a memorandum of understanding signed this fall.
Delta apologized to impacted customers "for the inconvenience."
RELATED: Flight Attendants Are Training In Self-Defense as Unruly Passengers Incident Continue to Rise
An increased number of incidents involving unruly passengers have been reported on flights since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. According to current data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 5,553 reports of unruly passengers on flights in just the last year. Of those incidents, 3,998 were mask-related.
According to a July Conde Nast Traveler report, 85 percent of flight attendants claimed to have dealt with an unruly passenger within the last year. Of those surveyed, 58 percent reported encountering at least five incidents in the first half of 2021 alone.
"This survey confirms what we all know, the vitriol, verbal, and physical abuse from a small group of passengers is completely out of control, and is putting other passengers and flight crew at risk," Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA's president, said in a statement at the time.
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Sunwing trip could have been diverted mid-flight, experts say .
MONTREAL — Experts say a Sunwing flight that devolved into a raucous onboard party might have been halted mid-trip had certain aviation protocols been strictly followed. Videos of the Dec. 30 charter voyage from Montreal to Mexico shared on social media show unmasked passengers in close proximity singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats as some clutch bottles of liquor, snap selfies and vape. John Gradek, head of McGill University'sVideos of the Dec. 30 charter voyage from Montreal to Mexico shared on social media show unmasked passengers in close proximity singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats as some clutch bottles of liquor, snap selfies and vape.