HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Passengers and flight crew subdued a Turkish man Friday on board a Honolulu-bound flight after he tried to break into the cockpit.
They 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 was on board AA Flight 31, which departed from Los Angeles International Airport at 8:34 a.m. local time. Sources said at LAX, the man apparently was cited after breaching a secure door. He was assessed and determined to be intoxicated, but was not detained.
When the Airbus A321 was in the air, the man 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 was all kind of surreal,” said Penny Lorenzen, a passenger on the flight.
Her husband was among those who got up to try to stop the man.
“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.”
He added, “It was all over very quickly. They really deserve a medal for what they did.”
Another passenger on board the plane posted a video on Instagram showing FBI agents on the aircraft after it had landed in Honolulu.
“Crazy! Someone tried to break into the cockpit on my flight from LA to Honolulu,” the Instagram user wrote. “We were greeted by the FBI. They are now taking us off the plane a few rows at a time for dog sniffing and interviews.”