NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine being on a plane thousands of feet in the air when a fellow passenger goes berserk, attacking people.
That nightmare scenario unfolded on a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to JFK Airport on Sunday night.
“He was punching the passengers next to him, flailing his arms around, just acting irrational, crazy,” Tom, a passenger on the flight, told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare in an exclusive interview.
Tom, who asked CBS2 not to use his last name, was in the next row when the chaos erupted.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he said.
Tom said doctors on the flight were asked to check on the man. But then he turned violent again.
“He got out of his seat, lunged toward them and attempted to attack them,” Tom said.
Another passenger recorded video while Tom, the flight crew and others struggled to restrain the man, eventually cuffing his hands behind his back with zip ties.
“Everyone stepped in, snapped into action, did a great job,” Tom said.
But the flight still had to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas, where police convinced the man to get out of his seat and walk off the plane without any further resistance.
After all the drama, the flight finally landed at JFK at around 4 a.m. Monday. The passengers were exhausted from the ordeal, but certainly relieved.
And despite all that, Tom managed to keep his sense of humor about the incident.
“I was having a bad hair day on board and tired, but I was happy to help out and ultimately happy to get home in one piece,” he said.
And he said he’d jump into action again if he ever encounters such turbulence on another flight.
Police in Las Vegas say the man was removed from the flight but not arrested. It’s not known what caused the violence.