An American Airlines flight from Chicago to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday when an unidentified passenger tried to open an exit door.
Multiple passengers, including two from North Texas, helped to subdue the man and prevent him from endangering the lives of everyone else on board AA Flight 2300.
“Everyone who could get to the guy got to the guy to subdue him,” said DJ Mitchell, a BNSF Railways employee from the Dallas area, who was among those who held the man on the ground until the flight was able to divert and land in St. Louis. “There was no screaming, no excitement. [It was] a little nerve-wracking, but that’s about it.”
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Mitchell said the man appeared to be wearing a hospital bracelet on his wrist, and that he did not appear to be under the obvious influence of any substance.
Another passenger, who was seated in the emergency exit row, told NBC DFW that he noticed the unidentified man pacing in the aisle just moments before he lunged for the exit door.
“Have you ever seen a mouse go through a cardboard box that it cannot get out of, trying to get its way out?” said Jonathan Cowan, describing the actions of the man. “He reminded me of a mouse trying to get out of a cardboard box, and he was just going at every single lever right in front of me, on the door.”
American Airlines told NBC DFW flight attendants are equipped with restraint tape and flex cuffs in the event they need to restrain a passenger.
Once the flight landed in St. Louis, the passenger was taken into police custody. There is no word on what charges, if any, the man may face.
The flight eventually made it to DFW at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, about 3 and 1/2 hours after it's original scheduled arrival time.