Foreign passenger detained after attempted cockpit breach

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A 25-year-old man from Turkey had to be tied to his seat with duct tape Friday after attempting to break into the cockpit of an American Airlines flight to Honolulu.

The man, identified as Anil Tuvanc Uskanli, a citizen of Turkey, had already caused trouble at the Los Angeles airport in a secruity breach incident earlier Friday morning, when he went through a door from the concourse that led onto an airfield ramp.

Authorities had reportedly arrested Uskanli and cited him for “misdemeanor trespassing.” He allegedly admitted he had been drinking, was turned loose and allowed to board AA Flight 31, bound for Honolulu, which departed at 8:34 a.m.

Even before the flight departed Los Angeles, passengers said Uskanli was acting strange. He first tried to sit in a first-class seat and wouldn’t leave the area until a flight attendant checked his boarding pass.

Back in his coach seat, other passengers said they heard Uskanli mumbling to himself during the flight, then he put a blanket over his head and headed toward the cockpit.

Passenger Lynn Ratner said, “He was screaming and talking to himself, then he walked up to the front with the blanket on his head.” The first-class flight attendant blocked the aisle with a beverage cart to stop him, as he threw himself up against the beverage cart trying to force his way through.

Other passengers, flight attendants and an off-duty Los Angeles police officer on board grabbed Uskanli, secured him with pillows and blankets and duct-taped him into his chair for the duration of the flight.

Two F-22 fighter jets from the Hawaii Air National Guard were sent to escort the plane into the Honolulu International Airport, and FBI agents were waiting to remove Uskanli from the plane and take him into custody.

Officials reported that Uskanli has two visas – a tourist visa and a student visa. He had been a student at the Michelle Danner Acting Studio in Santa Monica, California, but an official there confirmed he had left the school last week. Both visas have now been cancelled by the U.S. State Department.

As one Twitter user noted, the Turkish man was now headed to Hawaii – the very state where a federal judge had blocked President Trump’s travel ban.

Another source said the man was holding a laptop, which authorities confiscated.  The plane was inspected but no explosives were found.

 

 

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