A man who attacked passengers and crew members of a Delta Airlines flight earlier this week was hit over the head by two bottles of wine in an attempt to prevent him from opening the plane's exit door mid-flight, according to new documents released by the FBI.
A flight attendant wielding the wine bottles hit 23-year-old Joseph Hudek IV, who responded by yelling, "Do you know who I am?" according to an FBI agent's affidavit. Hudek IV was eventually subdued by crew members and passengers as the Beijing-bound flight flew back to its origin airport, Seattle-Tacoma International.
Roughly 200 people were aboard Delta Flight 129 when it took off from the Seattle airport around 5 p.m. The plane had been in the air for about an hour before the incident began.
Hudek was flying on a dependent pass, according to the FBI affidavit, which is sometimes offered to relatives of Delta employees, an airline spokesperson told the Seattle Times. The 23-year-old had ordered one beer and appeared to be sober, the FBI agent wrote.
The in-flight chaos broke out shortly after Hudek left his first-class seat and walked to the bathroom. He was inside for about two minutes when he “lunged toward the forward right exit door of the aircraft, grabbed the handle” and tried to pull it open, according to the complaint.
Two flight attendants immediately tried to stop him, but were pushed away by Hudek, who continued trying to force the lever to the exit door open, the FBI agent wrote. They called for help, prompting the announcement "Code 3," according to a passenger on the plane. The pilot then reported the situation and turned the plane around to head back towards Seattle.
Hudek fought off another flight attendant and passenger, punching his challengers in the face before he broke free again and tried to pry open the door. That was when another flight attendant grabbed the bottles of wine and smashed them each over Hudek's head.
“Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.
Hudek continued to fight for a little while longer before he was finally restrained with zip-ties fastened around his limbs, the complaint said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Hudek with interfering with a flight crew. He already had his first court appearance on Friday, according to the Seattle Times.