A Washington man will pay Delta Airlines $9,118 after screaming and verbally assaulting a flight attendant, in a disruption that forced the pilot to make an emergency landing, reports say.
Bolutife Olorunda, 29, of Vancouver, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal assault after he was accused of acting erratically on a May 30 flight from Portland, Oregon, to Atlanta, the Associated Press reports. His alleged tantrum even prompted the pilot to divert the flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It is unclear what started the altercation, but a flight attendant soon approached, at which point Olorunda allegedly told them, “Don’t touch me and if you touch me again you will regret it,” according to ABC News.
There were two federal air marshals among the 178 people onboard the plane, according to ABC. One protected the cockpit while the other marshal worked to keep Olorunda calm. He was arrested upon landing in Tulsa, ABC reports.
Now, Olorunda must pay Delta Airlines more than $9,000 for the cost of diverting the flight as part of a plea agreement and he faces up to six months in prison, according to the AP. He also faces a $5,000 fine. No sentencing date is set.
“Airline passengers must follow the instructions of flight staff. If they do not, there are consequences. Mr. Olorunda learned that those consequences can include diversion of a commercial flight and federal prosecution,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, of Oklahoma’s northern district, said, according to KFOR.
“The defendant will be reimbursing the airline for the cost of diverting that flight,” United States Attorney Shores said. “I commend the quick thinking and decision-making by the flight crew and Federal Air Marshals. Their actions should inspire confidence in the safety and security of commercial air travel in America.”