May 9 2011
Payback time for Osama bin-Laden? Three scares on three U.S. planes in one weekend. One confirmed as a Muslim from Yemen. Identity/religion of others not yet released.
Daily Mail – Crew members and passengers wrestled a 28-year-old man to the cabin floor after he began pounding on the cockpit of a plane approaching San Francisco.
Rageit Almurisi, 28, carried a Yemen passport. The incident is the third scare of the weekend for U.S. air passengers.
The MUSLIM man was yelling. Passengers told of how Almurisi was heard to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ – or ‘God is great’ as he brushed past a flight attendant about 10 minutes before American Airlines Flight 1561 from Chicago was due in, police said.
It was a male flight attendant who tackled the suspect, and other crew members aided as the suspect banged on the cockpit door. ‘He asked for help; a couple of passengers joined in,’ said the spokesman. ‘They were able to get him to ground and a flight attendant put him in plastic handcuffs.’
The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10pm and Almurisi was taken into police custody. He was charged with interfering with a flight crew – a federal offence.
It was the third terrifying incident for air passengers over the weekend. It comes after officials stepped up security across America last week as they warned there was ‘enhanced potential’ for violence against the U.S. following Osama Bin Laden’s death.
Elsewhere, a 60-year-old army veteran has been hailed a hero after tackling a man who went berserk aboard a passenger jet and tried to open the door at 35,000 ft.
Vietnam vet Tony Harris leapt into action after a flight attendant noticed the ‘burly’ man run to the main door in the front of the Boeing 737, saying he had to get off the plane. Mr Harris, a martial arts expert, tackled the man from behind and hauled him to the ground as he grabbed the door handle.
Terrified travellers watched as the pair struggled on the floor of the aircraft before Harris, with help from two other passengers, managed to handcuff the unruly man.
The Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago was diverted to St. Louis where officials took the 34-year-old man, from Burbank, Illinois, into custody. He is being questioned by police and the FBI. Mr Harris told ABC news that he decided to act after he saw the man lunge into a flight attendant.
He said: ‘He just pushed her right over, so he assaulted her. Well at that time I’m already in motion.
‘What I did was I just jumped on him,I wrapped my legs around him, I put my 210 pounds of weight on his neck and he still wouldn’t go down.’
Eventually Mr Harris managed to subdue the passenger using a choke-hold. He then sat next to him until the plane landed in St. Louis.
Earlier on the same day a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to San Diego was diverted to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a flight attendant found a note in the lavatory with the word ‘bomb’ on it.
The pilot had decided to divert the Delta 1706 flight just before 10am after an attendant found a suspicious note on the plane. Passenger Tim Cole, 55, of a Hazleton, Pennsylvania, said the pilot told passengers a note with the word ‘bomb’ on it was found in one of the bathrooms.
‘The captain came on and said “You notice we’re declining. We’re getting ready to divert. It’s probably a hoax, but we’ve got to take this very seriously”,’ Cole said from Albuquerque airport. The passengers were then held at a warehouse at the airport while FBI agents and dogs searched everyone’s carry-on luggage, he said.