Some passengers on this flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta must have had a cold sweat.
It was ultimately the coolness of some of them that made it possible to avoid the worst.
Their flight from Los Angeles had to be rerouted on Friday evening after a man caused panic on board by threatening to "dive" the aircraft, as Delta company and authorities reported on Saturday.
"Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 (Los Angeles to Atlanta) who helped subdue an unruly passenger while the flight was diverted to Oklahoma City," an airline spokesperson said in a statement. communicated.
The plane had to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City, where the passenger "was pulled (off the plane) by police," the spokesperson added.
🚨 # BREAKING: Someone tried hijack Flight from LAX to ATL
📌 # LAX l #ATL
Terrifying moment a man is restrained by passengers & crew near cockpit.
As he was trying to open the door to the outside.
Delta Flight 1730 (LAX ATL) which made a emergency to Oklahoma City pic.twitter.com/TRcHoi356Y
- RAWS 🚨 LERTS (@rawsalerts) June 12, 2021
In images filmed on board by other passengers, we can see that several members of the crew and some passengers try to prevent the man, wearing a cap and helmet, from accessing the cockpit of the pilots and at a front door of the aircraft.
The Oklahoma City police were quoted by media as saying he was "going to take the plane down."
Rise in in-flight violence in recent weeks
“It was surreal.
I'm very grateful that it didn't end badly, ”commented afterward a passenger on the flight, Benjamin Curlee, interviewed on CNN.
According to him, the pilot called on the microphone "all healthy men" to lend a hand to the crew in order to control the troublemaker.
A message received five out of five since, on a second video shot on board by witnesses, we see several men putting all their weight on the disruptor, seeing him hit him, in order to keep him on the ground.
Passengers quoted by Benjamin Curlee described the individual as "very inconsistent".
Once the checks were carried out on board, the plane was able to take off again towards Atlanta, where it landed.
The FBI took up the investigation, without further details.
I am on this flight, here's another look pic.twitter.com/ItsqC37F7H
- Steve Denton (@SRDenton) June 12, 2021
In-flight incidents have increased since airlines resumed operations after being virtually grounded by the coronavirus pandemic. The head of the US aviation regulator (FAA), Steve Dickson, said in May that the agency had seen "a significant increase in situations with unruly passengers in recent months", including refusals to wear a mask on board, a measure however compulsory.
Earlier this month, a flight from the same Delta company reportedly saw another passenger attempting to enter the cockpit, forcing the plane to divert to New Mexico. Last month, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant landed at the hospital and lost two teeth after a passenger punched her in the face, reports USA Today. The unions of pilots and flight attendants are calling for an end to the distribution of alcohol during flights.