A California man was hit with federal charges Monday for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight last week.
Brian Hsu, 20, is accused of punching the airline worker in the face after she told him to sit down because the “fasten seatbelt” sign was on during the flight Wednesday night from JFK Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by CBS Los Angeles.
The bizarre outburst took place as Hsu, who attended school in New York, was returning home after undergoing brain surgery, according to the affidavit.
Hsu reportedly said he needed to use the bathroom, but was told it was occupied and that he could not wait in the aisle, the affidavit said.
That’s when he allegedly went berserk, elbowing the flight attendant in the head before charging at her and socking her in the head, according to the feds.
Four witnesses told federal investigators that the flight attendant “hit the lavatory door” after she was punched, the report said.
The woman also said she suffered a “fractured nose” after the blow, one witness recalled.
But Hsu claimed to investigators that the flight attendant caused the injury herself when she charged at him and slammed her nose into his palm after he accidentally bumped into her while stretching in the corridor, KTLA reported, citing the same affidavit.
Hsu said the impact occurred as he was backing away with hands raised in defense to prevent from getting hit in the head.
The suspect’s mother, who on the plane with him, said her son had become easily agitated since his brain surgery and that he had trouble sitting still.
The mother also said that her son is afraid of others touching his head.
The plane made an emergency landing in Denver and Hsu was taken into custody.
He was charged with interference of a flight crew and assault, according to federal prosecutors. He was also banned from flying American Airlines.
Airlines have experienced a surge of incidents involving unruly passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands reported to the Federal Aviation Administration.