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In this Jan. 15, 2015 photo, an American Airlines aircraft takes off from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Grapevine, Texas. American Airlines reports quarterly financial results on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Passengers intervened after a man allegedly tried to open a plane's exit door midflight


Passengers aboard a recent flight heading to Minneapolis said a man tried opening one of the airplane’s exit doors while they were airborne.

The incident occurred last Saturday on an American Airlines flight coming from Los Angeles, according to travelers Richard Munassi and Salman Elmi.

“There was a lot of yelling and screaming,” Munassi told WCCO. “I thought perhaps two of the passengers had gotten into maybe a fist fight.”

“It was a crazy experience,” Elmi said of attempts to stop the man. “I just hear shouting, ‘I’m about to punch him.’”

Elmi said he watched other passengers attempting to subdue the man as he reached for a door handle until flight attendants were capable of intervening.

Munassi said that once the individual was stopped, the pilot instructed travelers to prepare for a speedy landing.

“We came in hot, probably the hottest landing I’ve ever been on and I fly all the time,” he said. “Everyone was dead quiet on the flight.”

“You could cut the tension with a knife,” Munassi added of the time before the plane’s landing at Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport (MSP).

Once the plane had safely landed, Munassi said, several officers escorted the man down the aisle and off the aircraft.

Munassi shot cell phone video of the incident, which shows law enforcement leading out a male in sunglasses.

The man did not resist police, he added, nor did he show emotion or speak as he was escorted off the flight.

A MSP spokesperson told WCCO that the incident is getting investigated by the FBI as it happened midflight.

Munassi returned to the airport about 24 hours later for another flight, adding he did not have concerns about his air travel following the event.

“Honestly, I’m just happy that I’m here today and nothing happened to our flight and I’m happy to be here,” he said.

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