Unruly man heading for American Airlines cockpit subdued, duct-taped to seat

A "disheveled" Turkish student could face federal charges for purportedly trying to enter the cockpit of a Hawaii-bound flight until he was grabbed by passengers and duct-taped to a seat.

The threat of terrorism prompted authorities to scramble two Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptor fighter jets to escort the airliner on the last leg of its trip to Hawaii on Friday.

American Airlines Flight 31, with 181 passengers and six crew members aboard, landed safely in Honolulu at 11:35 a.m.

The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Anil Uskanil, 25, of Turkey was taken into custody by federal agents. FBI special agent Paul Delacourt said Uskanil could face federal charges for interference with a flight crew, according to CNN.

According to Hawaii News Now, Uskanli was in the United States on a student visa for an acting school in Santa Monica, Calif.

The man, described by passenger Donna Basden as a "disheveled looking fellow," initially tried to sit in the first-class section with his laptop until a flight attendant looked at his ticket and instructed him to go to economy class.

Halfway through the six-hour flight from Los Angeles, Uskanil reappeared in first class holding the laptop and appeared to be trying to reach the cockpit, according to passenger Grant Arakelian.

At that point, a flight attendant ran down the aisle with her serving cart and blocked the entrance to first class, said passenger Lee Lorenzen.

“She jammed the cart in that the doorway and she just said, ‘You’re not coming in here,’” Lorenzen said.

Passengers then stood up and helped restrain him in a seat.

"It took seconds," Lorenzen told Hawaii News Now. "He was pushing against the cart and a bunch of guys grabbed him. They found some duct tape. There were pillows and blankets. And they taped him to his chair."

Uskanil had been arrested earlier before boarding the flight at Los Angeles International Airport for opening a door that led onto an airfield ramp, according to Los Angeles Airport Police.

He appeared to have been drinking, but police said he did not meet the criteria for being drunk in public. Instead, Uskanil was given a date to appear in court on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing and allowed to board.

Contributing: Associated Press

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