NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Passengers were terrified on a plane heading to New York this past Monday night, when a passenger went wild and became violent and disruptive.
CBS 2’s Don Champion spoke exclusively to a passenger who stood up and took the man down.
Delta Flight 1286 Monday night was one that Jeremy Friedman will not soon forget.
“He was in a rage; in a fit,” Friedman said.
Friedman came face to face with the out-of-control passenger.
“He was saying, you know, ‘Everyone brace themselves! Brace themselves!’” Friedman said. “He took his knees… he had his knees up on his chest, and was shaking and seizing.”
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police confirmed the incident happened in the middle of the flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to LaGuardia Airport.
Friedman said he had to decide quickly whether to react.
“First, when I looked at my wife, she looked a ghost. Everyone on the flight kind of looked like a ghost,” Friedman said. “Like, you’re fearful for your life.”
While other passengers tried subduing the man, in the end, Friedman was the one who pinned him down. Proof of it was shown in his now-bruised arm.
“It was hard to tell if he was potentially trying to harm people or if he was actually sick,” Friedman said.
He showed CBS 2 how he did took down the passenger.
“I just tripped him over my knee and sort of had him trapped,” Friedman said.
Friedman said he later learned the man had just bought his ticket hours before the flight and was reportedly acting strangely.
Once Friedman pinned the unidentified 34-year-old man, other passengers and flight attendants helped keep the man down.
Friedman also said his training as a suicide prevention hotline volunteer kicked in for the rest of the flight in calming the man. But still, he had to use force first.
“It showed me everyone is responsible for your safety, and don’t think that something like that can’t happen,” Friedman said.
The unruly passenger was eventually taken to an area hospital for a mental evaluation. No charges were filed.
The Federal Aviation Administration said 160 similar incidents were reported last year, but officials admit they’re often underreported. Moving forward, industry officials are pushing for firm protocol on how disruptive passengers are handled by the law.
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