Passengers and crew aboard a Delta Airlines flight were thanking a Vancouver Island firefighter after he de-escalated an onboard situation.
Oak Bay firefighter Brad Scott was flying from Seattle to Phoenix with his wife and youngest daughter on Dec. 20. Despite long delays caused by the storm, the flight began pleasantly enough.
“At the beginning, I got talking to the flight attendant,” Scott said, noting it turned out she was from Windsor, Ont. “We started talking a bit which I think helped the situation because we were getting a rapport with her.”
Shortly after the drink service Scott heard some thumping and felt a tap on his shoulder. At the back of the plane, a man was in a confrontation with one of the flight attendants.
“With him being a male, them being two females, I just asked if she needed help and she said ‘yes please,’” Scott said.
Scott and one other male passenger on the flight engaged with the distraught passenger near the rear of the plane.
“We ended up holding him so the flight attendant could get the zap strap handcuffs on him in the back galley, and settle him down,” Scott said. “It lasted about 15 minutes before we got him seated.”
The flight had to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas, where passengers disembarked while local paramedics, firefighters and police treated the man. Scott was interviewed by authorities along with a few other passengers directly involved in the incident in Las Vegas. He hasn’t been contacted by U.S. authorities since.
Scott has been a firefighter in Oak Bay for 17 years, and credits his emergency experience and training for helping him diffuse the situation.
“You don’t really think about it, but when something like this happens we are very fortunate to have the training we have,” Scott said. “The first thing is to try and de-escalate the situation and bring it down to normal. Anyone in our job would have done the same thing, and would feel comfortable doing because of how well trained we are.”
According to Scott, most of the passengers on the plane weren’t aware of the situation.
In order to protect the privacy of the agitated passenger, Scott decline to comment on the man’s specific triggers that day, though he didn’t think the man was intoxicated.
Scott and the rest of the passengers eventually made it to Phoenix at around 3:30 a.m. the next morning.