A Turkish man on board a Honolulu-bound flight tried to break into the cockpit Friday before being subdued by passengers and flight crew, who used duct tape, pillows and blankets to make sure he couldn’t get out of his seat.
The incident prompted U.S. Pacific Command to scramble two F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard, which escorted the flight into Honolulu International Airport about 11:35 a.m.
The man, identified as 25-year-old Anil Uskanil, was on board AA Flight 31, which departed from Los Angeles International Airport at 8:34 a.m. local time.
The Los Angeles airport police said at LAX, Uskanil was involved in a separate security incident and was detained but subsequently released.
Police said the suspect went through a door from a LAX concourse that led onto an airfield ramp. He was spotted by a contractor and detained.
Airport police investigated and determined that Uskanil had been drinking. He was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, cited and released.
The suspect subsequently got on board the American Airlines flight. Several hours in, he allegedly tried to break through the cockpit door, throwing himself up against a beverage cart as he tried to force his way into the first-class cabin.
Passengers said the man had a blanket or towel on his head, and didn’t say anything as he pushed forward.
Flight attendants, an off-duty Los Angeles police officer and other passengers were able to stop the man and secure him in a seat.
“It took seconds,” said Lee Lorenzen, of Orange County, Calif. “He was pushing against the cart and a bunch of guys grabbed him. They found some duct tape. There were pillows and blankets. And they taped him to his chair.”
The plane landed safely, but medical assistance was requested for nine people.
Three people were taken by ambulance to the hospital, reported WRAL