<p>An American Airlines flight</p>

An American Airlines flight

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A flight from New York to California was forced to divert after a passenger seated in first class allegedly assaulted a flight attendant.

One female cabin crew member was severely injured in the altercation during which the male passenger is believed to have punched her twice.

The shocking incident on Wednesday occurred on a flight from New York’s JFK that was headed to John Wayne Airport in Orange County. But the plane was diverted to Denver due to the assault.

Paul Hartshorn Jr. from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said: “After a flight attendant who was working in a different cabin bumped this passenger, we’re told, she then walked into one of the flight galleys and this passenger approached her and punched her in the face at least twice.

“That’s what we know right now and she sustained broken bones in her nose and her face.”

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The incident was so extreme the CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker, released a video on his Instagram saying it was “one of the worst displays of unruly behaviour we’ve ever witnessed”.

Fellow passenger Mackenzie Rose told CBSLA: “I understand that he actually punched her twice. I did see her walk back down the aisle afterwards. She had blood splattered on the outside of her mask.”

The flight attendant who was injured in the horrific assault was taken to a local hospital and the unnamed passenger who committed the attack was removed from the flight.

American Airlines confirmed in a statement that the perpetrator would be banned from their services for life.

It said: “We are outraged by the reports of what took place on board. Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines.

“We have engaged local law enforcement and the FBI and we are working with them to ensure they have all the information they need.

“The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with American Airlines in the future, but we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“This behaviour must stop and aggressive enforcement and prosecution of the law is the best deterrent.”

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