United flight diverted after man rushes toward cockpit: ABC News

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2015 6:24 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A United Airlines flight to Denver returned to a Washington airport late on Monday when a passenger shouting about jihad rushed toward the cockpit before other passengers grabbed him, ABC News said.

United Flight 1074, carrying 33 passengers and six crew members, returned to Washington Dulles International Airport when the passenger "failed to comply with crew instructions," airline spokesman Luke Punzenberger said in a statement.

A video posted online by a passenger showed a dark-haired man with a bloodied face being held to the floor of the Boeing 737, tearfully saying, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

"Don't move, you're OK. We're going to get you off this plane, buddy," a second man says.

A spokesman for Washington's airport authority said the passenger was taken to a hospital for observation. The man has not been charged and Dulles' operations were unaffected, he said.

Passenger Donna Tellam told ABC News, "At one point when his head was down he said there were jihadists in the cargo hold and he did say jihad a couple times."

She said the man was held down by passengers until flight attendants put plastic restraints on his arms.

CNN played audio from LiveATC.net, which provides air traffic control communications online, of the pilot's radio traffic with controllers.

"We’re declaring an emergency due to a passenger disturbance," the pilot said.

"He ran forward towards the cockpit and he is being restrained by other passengers ... The cockpit is secure and we would just like to return to the airport and have authorities meet him."

The airport authority spokesman said the plane continued on to Denver and the passengers were rebooked by United.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco, Ian Simpson in Washington and Suzannah Gonzalez in Chicago; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Doina Chiacu)