Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Denver restrained another traveler who tried to rush the cockpit, officials said.
United Flight 1074, carrying 33 passengers and six crew, was forced to return to Dulles International Airport on Monday night after the passenger, reportedly shouting “jihad,” headed toward the cockpit.
The unidentified passenger was taken to “a hospital for observation and has not been charged as of this time,” Kimberly Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs Dulles, said on Tuesday in an email to the Los Angeles Times.
“Flight 1074 returned to the airport following takeoff on Monday evening after a passenger failed to comply with crew instructions,” United spokesman Luke Punzenburger said in an email on Tuesday. “Local law enforcement officials met the aircraft at the gate and detained the passenger.”
The flight left Dulles around 10:10 p.m. EDT and was scheduled to arrive in Denver at 9:20 MDT. About 15 minutes into the flight, the incident began.
According to several cable TV networks, an unnamed government official said the man shouted “jihad” as he rushed forward.
In a video shot by a passenger and widely distributed on social media and mainline reports, passengers are seen subduing the man. The cellphone video shows the man, bruised on his face, being held down by other passengers.
At one point, he pleads, “Please stop, please stop, they said call it off.”
At another point, the man seems to cry as he says, “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t move,” one passenger said, apparently trying to calm the man. “You’re OK. We’re going to get you off this plane, buddy.”
The passenger attempted to rush the cockpit, according to a recording of the pilot talking to the control tower at Dulles. The conversation was captured by the website, LiveATC.net.
“There’s a passenger in the back, he ran forward towards the cockpit and now he is being restrained by other passengers,” the pilot told air traffic control.
“We had a passenger becoming violent. No weapons involved. He’s restrained by other passengers now, though,” the pilot says. “We don’t know his mental health condition. Sounds like he’s restrained for now. We just need to get on the ground.”
Dulles officials said the incident didn’t affect airport operations.
The plane landed at Dulles around 10:40 p.m. EDT, said spokeswoman Gibbs.
The plane, with no passengers, arrived in Denver about 2:30 a.m. MDT Tuesday.
“We are accommodating the remaining customers to Denver this morning,” United said.