On December 23rd, a woman aboard a Delta Air Lines flight was detained in Atlanta for slapping a man across the face following a dispute over masks. The episode involving blows and insults went viral on social networks. The passenger named Patricia Cornwall was arrested by the FBI after being caught on camera by several witnesses attacking a man in mid-flight because he refused to wear a face mask.
According to specialists, not wearing a mask significantly increases the chances of becoming infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. What is remarkable, however, is that Cornwall was not wearing her mask either. Patricia Cornwall was traveling Thursday, December 23rd, on a flight from Tampa to Atlanta when the incident occurred after she objected to an 80-year-old man, seated a couple of rows behind her, removing his mask.
The two insulted each other, escalating the intensity of the exchange to physical violence. It ended with at least one crew member and several passengers injured as they tried to pull Cornwall away from the man, whose identity has not been confirmed by authorities.
In the video footage, released by the ATL Uncensored account, which was reportedly recorded by another passenger on board, Cornwall is first seen berating the passenger who was not wearing a mask. Tension rose and she slapped the older man, spat on him and poured hot water on him. The whole thing circulated on social media, and the footage clearly shows Cornwall punching, scratching and spitting at the other passenger.
A flight attendant and other crew members tried to take her to the back of the plane, and Cornwall continued to shout for the flight crew to force the man to wear a mask. At one point, the assaulted man tells Patricia that she wasn’t wearing her mask either and she replied “I’ll put my mask on when you put yours on.”
The video of the awkward moment has received more than eight million views since it was posted on Twitter on Friday. After the brief and violent exchange between the two, flight attendants escorted the woman to the back of the plane and a few hours later, Atlanta police arrested her at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
It is not yet clear how the other passengers and crew members were injured, nor the severity of the injuries. It was confirmed, however, that Cornwall is scheduled to appear in federal court in Atlanta this week, an FBI source told local media.