HONOLULU (KHON2) — The man who caused a disturbance on an inter-island Hawaiian Airlines flight punched the flight attendant twice, and for no apparent reason. That’s according to court documents. Steven Sloan has been charged with assault and interference with a flight crew.
New cellphone video obtained by KHON2 shows Sloan reacting calmly as deputy sheriffs arrested him Thursday morning. But court documents say he was anything but that when the flight was on its way to Hilo from Honolulu, and he punched a male attendant in the chest as he was walking the aisle.
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The flight attendant “described the punch as being shocking and unexpected, and he half-thought it was a joke.”
He then asked Sloan if he was okay, Sloan stood up, and made like he was going to punch him, so court documents say the flight attendant, “Took a defensive posture and attempted to cover his body… (the flight attendant) then felt a punch to the back left side of his head, near his ear.”
Records say shortly after that, “Sloan was reseated and acted as if nothing had happened.”
Later that day another Hawaiian Airlines flight, this one headed for Seattle, was forced to return to Honolulu. Not once but twice. Passengers say the first time a female passenger did not want to wear a mask. A witness says the woman first started yelling at a couple seated next to her.
“Sort of speaking loudly, repeating the same thing over and over again,” said the witness who did not want to be identified. “Just something about not messing with her, something that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
The witness says a flight attendant moved the couple, and then asked the woman to wear a mask. She repeatedly refused. So the flight returned to Honolulu where the woman was detained. The FAA says interfering with a flight crew violates federal law, and a fine can be up to $37,000.
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When the flight took off the second time, officials say there was a mechanical issue with the cargo compartment. There were two dogs being transported in the cargo hold. So it again turned back, before eventually departing and landing safely in Seattle.