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Fighter Jets Escort AA Flight to HNL Following Foiled Cockpit Intrusion

A Turkish national is in custody after fellow passengers report preventing the man from reaching the flight deck of an American Airlines flight bound for Hawaii.

Federal authorities say an American Airlines passenger’s odd behavior quickly turned dangerous during a flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Friday morning. Anil Tuvanc Uskanli was taken into custody shortly after the Airbus A321 landed safely at its destination under a close escort by two military fighter jets.

According to eyewitnesses, the 25-year-old attempted to rush the cockpit, but was instead duct-taped to a seat after a flight attendant asked passengers for help stopping his reportedly threatening actions. The flight attendant had moments earlier blocked the aggressive passenger’s progress towards the cockpit door with her beverage cart.

“The flight attendants just were really heroic,” passenger Lee Lorenzen told the Los Angeles Times. “By the time we landed and the FBI took him into custody, he was very mellow.”

The newspaper reports that Uskanli had already allegedly caused more than his share of trouble prior to causing a near-crisis on the flight. The Turkish national was cited for trespassing earlier that day at LAX for allegedly opening a fire exit and shouting, “Where can I get something to eat around here?” Authorities say that once on the plane, he rather suspiciously clutched his laptop and moved towards the front of plane, but was ordered back to his seat in economy class on at least one occasion. This was all before he later rushed towards the cockpit door and had to be restrained.

The fact that Uskanli was clutching a laptop computer during the unexplained rampage quickly elevated the incident to a national security issue concerning the highest levels of the US government. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has for weeks now been raising alarms about potential terrorist plots involving explosives concealed in electronic devises targeting passenger planes.

DHS officials felt compelled to quickly release a statement making clear that the situation in Hawaii appeared to be an isolated incident that was now under control. “At this time there are no other reports of disruptions to flights,” the agency stated in its initial release. “We continue to monitor all flights out of an abundance of caution and will provide updates as necessary.” The White House confirmed that the President was given briefs as the incident unfolded.

Federal investigators told reporters that it is believed that Uskanli had been drinking prior to his string of of outbursts on Friday. In addition to potential trespassing charges in Los Angeles, he is expected to face federal charges that include interfering with a flight crew.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
thebug622 May 25, 2017

Unless the Fighters are under orders to shoot the passenger jet down if it does not follow orders to land what good do they do?I fear that sometime in the future a passenger jet will be shot down if this policy continues

joecool1885 May 23, 2017

Attempted terrorism, or falling to travel stress? We may never know.