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American Airlines passengers take down man accused of trying to open exit mid-flight

"I was shaken out of my Panda Express and Tequila induced stupor by a man trying to aggressively open the airplane door 4 rows back," a passenger wrote on X about the incident.

Published: February 21, 2024 11:19am

Passengers on an American Airlines flight forcefully wrestled a man to stop him from allegedly attempting to open an emergency exit just a half hour into a flight from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Chicago, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. 

Barstool Sports host Zach Etkind was on the plane, and he posted his account of the event Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter.

"30 minutes after departing Albuquerque I was shaken out of my Panda Express and Tequila induced stupor by a man trying to aggressively open the airplane door 4 rows back," he wrote. "Me and 5 other dudes had to wrestle him into the aisle, duct tape his legs, and throw flexi-cuffs on him."

The plane was forced to return to Albuquerque and fly out Wednesday instead.

Etkind later posted a picture of four police officers and a man in handcuffs with the caption: "Ladies and gentlemen, WE GOT HIM."

An American Airlines spokesperson told Newsweek that the flight from Albuquerque to Chicago was forced to turn back "shortly after takeoff due to a disturbance in the cabin involving a disruptive customer."

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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