A 25-year-old man was duct-taped to his seat by fellow passengers after he tried to enter the cockpit of an American Airlines flight, prompting the US to rush fighter jets to intercept the plane, a media report said. Anil Uskanil, a Turkish national, was flying from Los Angeles International Airport to Honolulu on Friday when he allegedly caused a disturbance by attempting to breach the plane’s cockpit. American Airlines initially told the New York Daily that there had been a “disturbance during the flight.”
Uskanil was allegedly “loitering” near the plane’s restroom, carrying a laptop. When asked to return to his seat, he refused and then allegedly lunged forward to try and breach the cockpit, the report said. The incident prompted Pacific Command to dispatch a pair of F-22 fighter jets to intercept the passenger plane.
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Command spokesman Dave Benham said they “escorted the airliner to the airport in accordance with homeland defence procedures. Local law enforcement responded once the civilian airliner was on the ground”.
Federal authorities are preparing a criminal complaint to charge Uskanil with interference with a flight crew, FBI special-agent-in charge Paul Delacourt said.
The FBI did not disclose exact details of the incident but he was subdued by an off-duty law enforcement officer. No injuries were reported and the Honolulu-bound flight landed at airport safely, after fighter jets escorted the plane.
Los Angeles International Airport police said separately that Uskanil had been detained, questioned and released hours earlier after he was caught by security there going through a terminal concourse door leading out to the airfield.