American Airlines Passenger Detained In Honolulu Following Disturbance On Flight

HONOLULU (CBSNewYork/CBSNews/AP) — A passenger was detained following a disturbance on board an American Airlines flight to Honolulu on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed.

American Airlines said in a statement that Flight 31 from Los Angeles landed safely at 11:35 a.m. Hawaii time.

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CBS News affiliate KGMB reports that a man tried to break through the cockpit door, becoming belligerent.

LAX police identified the man as 25-year-old Anil Uskanil, CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave reports.

According to CBS News, he was taken into FBI custody at LAX hours earlier, where authorities determined he had been drinking but did not meet the criteria for being drunk in public. He was arrested for allegedly trespassing, given a court date and released from custody. He was then screened and passed through security.

Passengers noticed him before the plane even took off, The Associated Press reports.

Mark and Donna Basden were among the first to board the plane and found a laptop in the seat pocket of Mark Basden. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, couple assumed it was from the previous flight.

A flight attendant said it must belong to a man in the bathroom.

Then a “disheveled looking fellow” walked out, Donna Basden said.

Mark Basden handed the man the laptop, telling him it had been in his seat. He said the man scowled at him, took the laptop, opened it and closed it and then tried to sit in another seat in first class.

Donna Basden said the man “clearly looked out of place,” but he didn’t say anything. The flight attendant went up to him and asked to see his boarding pass, then when she looked at it she told him he was in row 35 and sent him to the back of the plane.

About halfway through the six-hour flight, the Basdens saw the same man, holding his laptop, with something over his head, which they thought was a towel or a blanket.

Passenger Grant Arakelian said, “He was very quiet, moving very sluggish. He was trying to approach the cabin, like where the captain is.”

Lorenzen and his wife Penny Lorenzen, of Orange County, California, were sitting in first class and saw a “really serious look” on the flight attendant’s face.

The flight attendant ran down the aisle with her serving cart and blocked the doorway separating first class from the rest of the plane.

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

He said the man was pushing against the cart, trying to get through. At that point, passengers came up from behind and grabbed him. He was restrained with duct tape for the rest of the flight.

Uskanil having a laptop with him may have caused more concern than usual, with U.S. and European officials in recent weeks exchanging threats about aviation believed to include bombs hidden in laptop computers. Laptops have been banned on a handful of international flights, and could soon be outlawed on far more.

As Uskanil was subdued, the cockpit called for help. Federal agents were sent to wait for the plane and two F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard scrambled to meet the plane.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was briefed on the incident, according to a statement from the department.

“We continue to monitor all flights out of an abundance of caution,” the statement read in part.

There were 181 passengers and six crew members aboard the plane, an American Airlines spokeswoman said.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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