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Plane To Chicago Delayed In Dallas After Struggle With Flight Attendant

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Passengers videotape a disturbance aboard a Chicago-bound American Airlines flight Friday in Texas. (Courtesy: Stephen Termunde)

Passengers videotape a disturbance aboard a Chicago-bound American Airlines flight Friday in Texas. (Courtesy: Stephen Termunde)

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UPDATED 03/09/12 6:00 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — An American Airlines flight headed to Chicago had to return to the gate at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Friday morning, following a struggle that occurred after a flight attendant made disturbing references to Sept. 11 and the plane crashing.

Passengers say the flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 2332 showed early signs of erratic behavior.

“When we first got in and boarded, she said, ‘Oh, I forgot to take my meds,'” Luann Webber tells CBS 2’s Mai Martinez when the flight eventually made it to Chicago.

The flight attendant’s comments over the public-address system drew even more attention.

“She said she would not be responsible for the plane crashing,” Greg  Lozano said.

Several passengers sprang into action, and others recorded what happened next with their cell phones. Brad LeClear was one of the men who helped restrain the flight attendant.

“She spoke about 9/11,” he said. “I thought, right there, PTSD — she’s having a breakdown,” he said.

According to a law enforcement official, several other passengers restrained the woman while the jet taxied back to the gate. Passengers say the disruptive flight attendant was taken off the plane in handcuffs.

The airline says two flight attendants were taken to a hospital for treatment, but American did not say what they were being treated for, CBS DFW reported.

The airline replaced the crew and the plane took off for O’Hare International Airport at 9:46 a.m.

“We will ensure that the affected flight attendants receive proper care, and we commend our other crew members for their assistance in quickly getting the aircraft back to the gate so that customers could be re-accommodated,” American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said in a statement. “Our customers were not in danger at any time.”

The Chicago author of a study on so called “air rage” says she’s not totally surprised at what happened. Joyce Hunter is a retired flight attendant who wrote “Anger in the Air.”

Flight attendants are often under job stress, she says.  “They might talk to other flight attendants about, ‘I want to scream,’ or ‘I just want to take that passenger and strangle them.’”

She also says the effects of prescription drugs can be unpredictable when combined with high altitude flying over long periods.

CBS DFW contributed to this report.

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