Man Allegedly Tries Opening Plane Exit Door Mid-Flight: 'It Was a Nightmare'
The unidentified man reportedly tried to open an exit door as a plane traveling from Los Angeles was making its descent Saturday.
A man was escorted off an American Airlines flight after he allegedly tried opening one of the plane's doors as it traveled from California to Minnesota, according to fellow fliers who witnessed the harrowing ordeal.
The unidentified man reportedly tried to open an exit door as the plane, traveling from LAX to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) was making its descent on Saturday.
“Just as we were getting ready to land... I heard a man yell, ‘I’m going to punch him if he [tries to] open it,'" passenger Salman Elmi, 21, told InsideEdition.com.
That man had leapt into action when he saw the suspect allegedly trying to open the exit door, Elmi said.
“He stood in the aisle until flight attendants came,” the Minnesota native said.
Once the man was seated, the pilot announced they would be making a quick landing.
“The captain comes on and says we’re approaching landing — it was the quickest landing ever,” Elmi said. “As we landed, nobody said a word. It was so quiet in the cabin. It was pretty rough, to be honest. The whole plane started shaking. I think [the pilot] was rushing to land the plane and get to the gate really quickly.”
Elmi was one of several passengers who captured video of police escorting a man in sunglasses off the plane.
“Grateful to the man who stopped him. Grateful to be on the ground. Grateful for my heart rate returning to normal. Hello, Minnesota,” Sarah Utterback, who was also on the flight, wrote as she shared video of the incident on Twitter.
She commended airport security and the flight’s crew for their professionalism and quick action.
“It eased my fears and helped everyone stay calm,” she wrote.
Elmi also credited airline and airport officials for making sure the incident did not escalate.
“American Airline flight attendants were quick to assess the situation and calm all the passengers down,” he said. “Police came on board, politely told people to stay in their seats; they just walked in, grabbed the guy and walked off.”
A motive for the incident was not immediately known.
“[The suspect] was pretty quiet; he didn’t say a word,” Elmi said. “It was just a nightmare. I was freaked out; I thought at first we were getting hijacked. I never expected something like that to happen … I’m just glad nobody was hurt.”
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police officers were dispatched after receiving initial radio information that a passenger attempted to open an emergency door on board the aircraft, a spokesman for the airline told InsideEdition.com.
The FBI was investigating the incident, the MSP spokesman said. The bureau did not immediately return InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
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