Qantas Airlines Flight Attendant Still ‘Shaken Up’ After Passenger Body Slammed Her
By Sharelle Burt
A flight attendant on Qantas Airlines was shaken up after an altercation with a passenger got out of control.
At the trial for the April 2017 incident, Karyn Dwyer testified that she was pale and in total shock when passenger Patrick Walters approached her. On the flight from Port Hedland to Brisbane, Dwyer was dealing with a passenger who was boarding late. For some reason, Walters got up, walked to the front of the plane and started recording the flight attendant. After Dwyer asked Walters to stop filming her and he didn’t, she reached for the phone, escalating the situation.
The passenger then charged at the flight attendant. “There was pushing, a scuffle over the phone and they went backwards into the galley,” witness Stephen Ainscough said in court. “He was forcing her backwards.” A fellow colleague of Dwyer’s, Laura Norton, described Walter’s next move as a “body slam.” According to news outlets, the flight was delayed three hours due to the scuffle.
The 48-year-old was arrested and charged with assaulting a member of an aircraft crew. In court, Dr. Dale Van Der Mescht said that the incident gave Dwyer shoulder pain and movement limitations and will need physiotherapy. Dwyer did testify that Walters smelled of alcohol at the time of the fight.
Flight attendants deal with attacks on a daily basis. In February, a passenger attacked three crew members on an American Airlines flight as it landed in Charlotte, North Carolina from Fort Worth, Texas. Passenger Sarieann Harriott charged towards the cockpit from the last row and as attendants demanded her to stop, she became violent. Harriott allegedly bit one attendant on the right forearm, hit a second attendant in the right forearm and kicked a third attendant in the leg and abdomen. The FBI charged Harriott with interfering with a flight crew member and attendants.