A 44-year-old man was arrested after refusing to wear a face mask on a Delta Airlines flight heading from Salt Lake City to San Francisco in the US, a media report said. The man, identified as Joshua Colby Council, was rushing to board his fight at Salt Lake City International Airport on Wednesday night when a gate agent stopped and asked him to put on a face mask, the New York Post reported. Also Read - International Flights: Air India to Begin Its Longest Ever Flight to San Francisco From This Indian City

The agent followed the man, asking him to put on a mask because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He refused and continued to board the plane, the paper said. Once on board, the captain and flight attendants also requested him to wear a mask, but he refused.

The staff then called airport security to escort the man off the plane. He refused to leave his seat. Only when all the other passengers got up and walked out did he finally leave the plane, the paper said, citing police.

The incident delayed the flight for 45 minutes. “We apologise to customers for the delay on Flight 1382 on Wednesday as a passenger was removed from the flight for mask non-compliance, the airlines said in a statement. The man was released from the jail next morning. The COVID-19 death toll in the US since the pandemic’s start is now more than 264,000. And nearly another 60,000 people could lose their lives over the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.

The US on Friday marked the 25th day in a row with more than 100,000 new cases.