An “aggressive” American passenger on a KLM aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam prompted the Dutch air force to scramble two F-16 fighter jets to escort the flight Saturday.

The Straits Times reported that the fight broke out over Germany, about half-an-hour before the flight was to land at Schiphol airport, Netherlands. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf quoted a cabin crew saying the man was involved in a scuffle with other passengers and crew members.

"He suddenly became very aggressive. Why do not we know. We can not say whether he was drunk or under the influence of drugs. That is still being researched,” the crew member said.

“At first we got him back in his chair, but shortly after he started screaming and hitting wildly,” a flight attendant told the newspaper adding the passenger’s behavior alarmed and threatened other passengers. However, they were unable to understand what sparked his scuffle.

Describing the passenger as “aggressive”, the authorities said the scuffle broke out on the KLM Airbus A330-200 over German airspace. "His behaviour was very threatening from one moment to the next," the authorities said.

“A 29-year-old American man became aggressive after being asked by a purser to return to his seat. A scuffle broke out and the cabin crew, together with other passengers managed to restrain the man," said Joanna Helmonds, a spokeswoman for the gendarmerie, which also serves as the country's border police.

She added several passengers were wounded on the flight during the scuffle, including two who received black eyes.  The flight was given special clearance to land immediately at the Schiphol airport, where police came to meet them. The passenger was arrested and examined at the airport.

The man appeared disoriented, she said, adding that he was admitted to a psychiatric institution for observation, The National reported.

A spokesperson of the airline said it “regretted the unpleasant incident,” and that “passengers and crew have laid a complaint against the man,” Fox News reported.

The air force said Saturday that the Dutch fighter jets, armed with air-to-air missiles, are only scrambled in highly unusual cases. 

The Airbus A330-200 has a range of almost 13,500kms and a capacity of around 250 passengers. The number of passengers on the flight from Abu Dhabi is not known.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon was originally developed by the General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF) and around 4,500 aircraft have been built since its production was approved in 1976. It is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter jet.

The jet is used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary aircraft by the U.S. Navy. It has been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.