FBI: Woman attacked staff, passenger on diverted flight

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A 22-year-old woman has been named in a criminal complaint alleging she assaulted flight attendants and a passenger during a United Airlines flight from New York to Chicago on Thursday, forcing the pilot to divert the plane to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Breanna Farquharson was named in a federal complaint on Friday by the FBI that says 30 minutes into the flight, she approached a flight attendant and “frantically” requested to deplane.

When the attendant told Farquharson she could not, the woman ran to the back of the airplane and approached a second flight attendant.

An FBI agent said Farquharson grabbed the flight attendant and pulled her necklace and an employee badge off. The attendant suffered a small scratch to her upper lip from the assault, police said.

Farquharson then assaulted a passenger by grabbing her shirt collar and necklace, breaking the necklace.

Several passengers and crew members came to the aid of the victims, restraining Farquharson. When she resisted, they tied her hands behind her back with a seat belt and bound her feet with an attendant’s apron and a passenger’s neck tie, the complaint said.

The plane was carrying 69 passengers and four crew members landed at 8 p.m. Thursday in Romulus, where Detroit Metro Airport police arrested Farquharson.

She was expected to be arraigned Friday on a charge of interfering with flight crew members and attendants in federal court in Detroit, but officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said her arraignment would occur at a future date.