An American Airlines flight in route from Ontario, California to Dallas-Fort Worth had to make an emergency stop in Lubbock, Texas Thursday morning due to an out-of-control passenger who was making terror threats.
Jerry Ba Nguyen, 24 was on American Airlines flight #2542 from Ontario. Before takeoff he caught the attention of flight attendants, as he was appearing agitated and walking to the front of the plane as it was getting ready to depart. The flight attendants calmed him down and the plane took off. But he wasn’t calmed down after all.
The news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office explained what happened during the flight:
After takeoff, however, Nguyen’s erratic behavior continued; he mumbled that the SIM card had been stolen from his phone and he made suicidal statements. He also stated that the police were not his friends, and the U.S. government was responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Nguyen was asked to remain in his seat by the flight crew on multiple occasions, but refused. Flight attendants were so concerned about his behavior that they recruited several passengers to assist with physically restraining Nguyen if it became necessary.
Upon final approach, Nguyen walked to the front of the aircraft and began banging on and kicking the cockpit door. He was subdued by passengers at the request of the flight crew and then restrained with flex cuffs provided by the flight attendants,
The Captain declared an emergency and diverted the flight to Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, where it landed safely. Nguyen was removed from the plane and taken into custody
After they got Nguyen off the plane, the flight of 143 passengers continued on to Dallas-Fort Worth, arriving about one hour late.
The Justice Department reports that the man is from Las Vegas, but Lubbock County jail records state that he is from San Jose, California. He was first taken to a hospital, then to the Lubbock County Jail.
Nguyen has been charged with attempting to interfere with duties of a flight crew member, assaulting and intimidating the flight attendant by not following instructions, and attempting to force entry into the cockpit. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Fox News reported that one passenger said on Facebook the man was being suspicious at the airport and was “up to no good” on the plane. She says he was tackled by five men and taken off the flight in handcuffs.
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