SAN JOSE (CBS SF/AP) — A Southwest Airlines pilot was under investigation for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant at a San Jose bar during an argument over wearing masks, authorities said.
The pilot was cited for assault and battery over the Oct. 18 dispute at a hotel bar, USA Today reported Tuesday.READ MORE: Passenger's Shocking Attack on Flight Attendant Prompts Calls for FAA to Act
San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told USA Today the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office was reviewing the incident to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
In a statement to KPIX 5, the airline said: “We received reports last month about the off-duty disagreement between Crew members on an overnight trip. Our internal investigation, now ongoing, would regard the outcome of charges filed with local authorities. One Employee currently is on leave as this internal process unfolds. We don’t have anything additional to share.”READ MORE: Passenger Accused Of Choking Flight Attendant, Rushing Cockpit On JetBlue Flight
The pilot’s name wasn’t released.
The incident comes amid a surge in unruly airline passengers this year, who sometimes become violent.
Airlines reported about 3,000 cases of disruptive passengers between Jan. 1 and mid-June, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which began tracking it this year. About 2,300 of those incidents involved passengers who refused to obey the federal requirement to wear a face mask.
The hotel bar incident “involved a disagreement over mask wearing or masks,” Camarillo said, declining to provide more details.