A Delta Air Lines pilot who was shown on video in an apparent altercation with a passenger has returned to work after an investigation determined the pilot was actually attempting to break up a fight.
The Washington Post reports that an internal investigation into the April 21 incident found that the pilot was acting to de-escalate a fight between passengers on a jetway in Atlanta.
Video of the altercation, which was first posted by TMZ, showed the Delta pilot striking the hand of a passenger who had pinned another traveler to the ground.
In the video, the three passengers can be seen yelling at each other as they walk down the jetway after de-planing. Eventually, one of the women pins another to the ground in an apparent chokehold.
The plane’s pilot can then be seen entering the fray, grabbing the hand of the woman on top and striking her other arm. The pilot then leaves the shot while the third woman sits on the other two.
A few seconds later the pilot returns and talks to the women, who get up from the floor, grab their belongings, and begin to leave.
Delta said that immediately after becoming aware of the incident, the pilot was removed from duty pending an investigation.
That inquiry was wrapped up over the weekend, a rep for Delta tells the Post, noting that local law enforcement was also involved in the probe.
“The pilot has since been returned to work as our investigation found that his actions de-escalated an altercation between passengers on the jetway floor during de-planing,” the rep said, noting that the pilot was trying to break the grip of one of the passengers.
The rep declined to provide additional comment on the incident or how employees are instructed to deal with such altercations between passengers.