Woman charged after assault on United flight which forced landing at Detroit Metro Airport

22-year-old woman faces assault charge

ROMULUS, Mich. - A 22-year-old woman is criminally charged after authorities said she assaulted flight attendants and a passenger during a United Airlines flight Thursday from New York to Chicago, forcing the airplane to divert and land at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

A federal criminal complaint accuses Breanna Farquharson of "frantically" demanding to deplane about 30 minutes into the flight. When a flight attendant told her she could not deplane, Farquharson ran to the back of the airplane where she approached another flight attendant.

According to the criminal complaint, Farquharson "assaulted (the flight attendant) and interfered with her ability to perform her duties" when she "grabbed the flight attendant and pulled her necklace and employee badge off." Authorities say the attendant suffered a small scratch to her upper lip.

Farquharson also is accused of assaulting a passenger when she "grabbed the passenger's shirt collar and necklace, breaking the necklace."

Passengers and crew members grabbed and restrained the woman, who was resistant. She had to have her hands restrained with a passenger's belt. Her feet were tied with an attendant's apron and passenger's necktie. She remained resistant the entire time, according to the criminal complaint.

The flight was supposed to be traveling directly from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Chicago but it had to land prematurely in Michigan. Local 4 obtained video (see above) from a passenger's cellphone which shows the woman being arrested and hauled off the airplane at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The flight continued to Chicago, where it arrived about an hour late. It was carrying 69 passengers and four crew members.

Farquharson is charged with assaulting a flight crew member or flight attendant of the aircraft. She was taken to federal court on Friday before being transported to a nearby hospital. It's not clear when she could be arraigned.

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