Flight makes emergency landing after passenger tried to open cockpit

American Airlines flight from LA to DC is diverted to Kansas City after man tried to storm the cockpit: Terrified eyewitness says flight attendant hit violent passenger over the head with coffee pot to subdue him

  • An unidentified passenger was taken into custody after trying to break into the cockpit of an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to DC
  • He was attempting to open an exit door before the flight’s emergency landing in Kansas City
  • The plane was forced to make an emergency landing due to the passenger’s ‘erratic behavior’
  • The man was arrested and taken into custody while other passengers were rebooked onto another flight

An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to DC was diverted to Kansas City on Sunday afternoon due to an ‘unruly passenger’ who tried to break into the cockpit and then attempted to open an exit door. 

The passenger, who has yet to be identified, was restrained by flight attendants and other passengers. He was arrested and taken into custody after the Flight 1775’s landing.   

Mouaz Moustafa, a DC resident, was aboard the flight and said that he had seen a flight attendant yelling at another member of the crew, telling them to turn the lights on before the plane had suddenly started descending, Moustafa said.

More passengers rushed to the front of the plane to help hold the passenger down, according to Moustafa. The passenger was allegedly trying to break into the cockpit and open the exit door, before a flight attendant used a coffee pot to strike the man over the head in an attempt to subdue him. 

Photos taken by Moustafa show the man being restrained on the floor, with a video he shot depicting FBI investigators chatting to passengers after the nuisance flier had been removed.  

Karen Alston, who was sitting in plane’s 17th row, said that she had been watching a movie when the lights above her head suddenly turned on, and she saw a number of passengers rushing towards the front of the plane.

‘When people started standing up, I knew something was wrong,’ she told the Daily Beast.

Fellow passenger, Jake Smith, said he was starting to make his way to the lavatory when he saw a flight attendant ‘running full speed down the aisle.’ 

American Airlines Flight 1775 had to make an emergency landing into Kansas City before the FBI arrested a witnesses who was attempting to break into the cockpit and trying to open an exit door


Passengers managed to hold the ‘unruly passenger’ and a flight attendant used a coffee pot to hit him as the plane was getting closer to landing in Kansas City, Missouri

After the incident, American Airlines released a statement referring to the incident onboard Flight 1775, announcing that the plane had landed safely in Kansas City.

‘American Airlines flight 1775 with service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) diverted to Kansas City (MCI) due to an unruly passenger,’ the statement, sent to Dailymail.com, said.

‘The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival,’ it added. ‘We’re grateful to our crew members, who are consistently dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism.’

Kansas City Aviation Department spokesperson Joe McBride said that there was a ‘passenger interfering with the flight crew,’ adding the incident is now being handled by the FBI.  

Mouaz Moustafa, a DC resident, was onboard the flight during the incident and said that he had observed flight attendants communicating with each other before taking down the passenger

Moustafa shared regular updates on social media and said the plane felt like it was free falling when the passenger tried to break into the cockpit

The FBI confirmed the incident in a statement, adding the troubled passenger had been taken into custody. 

‘The flight was diverted due to an unruly passenger interfering with the flight crew,’ the FBI’s statement said. ‘The individual has been taken into custody. No further information is available at this time.’ 

After the flight had landed, local authorities and the FBI came onboard, Moustafa said. Passengers were then being booked onto another flight.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 2021 saw 5,981 reports of unruly passenger behavior across all U.S. airlines logged by the agency as of December 31. Of those, 4,290 – around 72 percent – were incidents on whether to wear a mask.

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