A 28-year-old man was wrestled to the floor by flight attendants and passengers after he started banging on the cockpit door and yelling aboard an American Airlines flight bound for San Francisco International Airport on Sunday night, police said. Rageit Almurisi was seated in the coach section of Flight No. 1561 when he started to walk briskly toward the front of the plane within 30 minutes of its scheduled landing at SFO, San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said. A flight attendant said it seemed at first that he was headed to the bathroom in the front of the plane, Rodriguez said. But once Almurisi walked past the first-class section and the bathroom, the flight attendant asked him to sit back down, he said.
Almurisi ignored the order and started to yell and pound on the cockpit door, he said. American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle said the man was speaking another language. “The characterization we got (was that) he was screaming wildly in some mideastern or southeastern Asian language,” Martelle said. “Unfortunately we don’t know what he said.” Martelle said a flight attendant asked for assistance with the passenger and a number of people responded, including an off-duty American Airlines pilot. Rodriguez said two flight attendants and two passengers wrestled Almurisi to the floor and subdued him, then put him in plastic handcuffs. “After he was subdued, they found a seat nearby where they could monitor him,” Martelle said. San Francisco police were notified about the disturbance before the Boeing 737 landed, and were waiting to take Almurisi into custody.
The plane arrived at 9:12 p.m., and Almurisi was taken off the plane first. Several passengers who witnessed the incident were questioned by police and the Transportation Security Administration. Martelle said he has not heard there were any weapons involved in the struggle on the plane. Because Almurisi resisted when he was wrestled to the floor, he had abrasions on his body, Rodriguez said. Police took him to the San Mateo Medical Center for treatment before he was booked into San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City on a charge of interfering with a flight crew at about 1:30 a.m., he said.
At the time of his arrest, Almurisi was in possession of a Yemeni passport, as well as a California identification card, Rodriguez said. No other people aboard the plane suffered any injuries. The flight, which was carrying 156 passengers, two pilots and four flight attendants, originated at LaGuardia Airport in New York and was headed to SFO from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It left Chicago at 7:05 p.m. local time.
The two passengers who helped subdue Almurisi both had a background in law enforcement, Rodriguez said. One passenger was a retired U.S. Secret Service agent and the other was a retired San Mateo police officer. The airport is operating normally and there are no delays, Rodriguez said. “This seems to be an isolated incident and San Francisco police are doing everything to investigate the case,” he said.
Copyright © 2011 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Comment Advisement We welcome your thoughts, but for the sake of all readers, please refrain from the use of obscenities, personal attacks or racial slurs. All comments are subject to our terms of service and may be removed. Repeat offenders may lose commenting privileges.