NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Passengers got a scare Monday during a flight from Hong Kong to Newark Liberty International Airport, following a man’s outburst.
As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported, the man was detained after passengers on board United Airlines Flight 116 said he caused a disturbance. He’s an American believed to be in his 30s, and claimed his name is Daniel Morgan Perry, during an anti-government rant recorded on a cellphone about nine hours into the 16-hour flight.
An audio recording captured some of the rant.
“Your life is in jeopardy!” he shouted. “Your life is in jeopardy if you work for the NSA, you work for the CIA, you work for the National Reconnaissance Office, your life is in jeopardy!”
The man had been pacing the aisles repeating his name, age and hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., passengers told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. He then began his rant about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Diamond reported.
“He complained about being shot with darts during the entire flight,” passenger Jacques Roizen told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco.
“He never threatened any individual on the plane. He didn’t threaten to blow up the plane. He didn’t threaten to divert the plane. He was just saying he had information relating to Ed Snowden,” passenger Peter Jones added.
“He said he worked for the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and he was being detained by the CIA and was being transferred and his life was in danger,” Jones told Diamond.
The situation got pretty unnerving in a hurry, passengers said.
“All of a sudden, there’s a guy screaming about national security, CIA, covert operations,” said Roizen, of Manhattan. “You look around, you see that he’s not controlled and you start rushing toward him.”
Roizen was seated just a few rows ahead of the suspect, and was one the few to help the flight crew detain him. Some passengers sprung into action when the man reached into his pocket.
“People got scared and a few of us jumped on him, put him on the ground. With the help of a few passengers and flight attendants, we were able to handcuff him,” Roizen told Diamond.
The flight crew gave the passengers plastic handcuffs to restrain the man.
Manhattan security expert Bob Strang told CBS 2’s Dennis the passengers had no choice but to subdue him.
“He was able to cause a disturbance and cause havoc on the airplane, but nobody was hurt, the plane arrived on time. He is being hospitalized and will be ultimately charged,” Strang said.
Roizen said the man, who seemed emotionally disturbed, finally calmed down.
“The other passenger and I spoke to him about our children, and talking to him about Father’s Day, and trying to calm him down,” he told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
The man spent several hours of the flight in plastic restraints. Flight 116, which had 238 passengers on board, landed in Newark at around 1:45 p.m. It taxied to an isolated area where it was kept near at least a dozen emergency vehicles. The man, who was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, was walked off the plane, placed in flex cuffs and taken into custody.
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