Halfway through a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Turkish man Anil Uskanli, 25, who it was later learned was in the United States on a student visa, suddenly began making his way toward the front of the airplane to the cockpit.
“He was very quiet, moving very sluggish,” passenger Grant Arakelian later recalled to the Associated Press via the Chicago Tribune. “He was trying to approach the cabin, like where the captain is.”
Not only that, but he was holding a laptop and had something — perhaps a towel or blanket — on his head.
Given recent concerns about radical Islamic terrorists potentially using laptops to take down flights, Uskanli’s disquieting behavior immediately triggered several into action, including a flight attendant who ran down the aisle with her serving cart and blocked the doorway into first class.
“She jammed the cart in that the doorway and she just said, ‘You’re not coming in here,’” passenger Lee Lorenzen recalled.
Undeterred by the flight attendant’s brave stand, the Turkish student continued marching ahead, pushing up against the cart in an attempt to get by it.
It was at this point that a slew of passengers rushed him from behind, got a hold of him and then reportedly restrained him to a seat with duct tape for the remainder of the flight.
Once the plane arrived in Hawaii, the wannabe thug was promptly taken into custody, though it was learned at the time that his erratic behavior had begun hours before he even stepped on board.
Approximately eight hours before the flight left Los Angeles International Airport, Uskanli was detained after he passed through a door from the concourse to the airfield ramp but was thereafter cited and released — and this despite authorities determining that he had been drinking.
Moreover, earlier in the flight he reportedly tried to sit in first class with his laptop until a flight attendant busted him and sent him back to economy.
You can see the FBI-hosted news briefing that occurred following the 25-year-old’s arrest here:
“It was all kind of surreal,” she said. “It’s amazing to me how calm everybody stayed. Angels were watching out for us.”
It remains unclear if Uskanli has any ties to radical Islamic terrorism.
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