Passengers Feel ‘Gush Of Wind’ As Maniac Tries To Open Exit Door On American Airlines Flight

Passengers and crew were forced to take down a disruptive passenger on an American Airlines flight 1219 from Albuquerque to Chicago on Tuesday. The man was trying to open an emergency exit door on the aircraft, and got so far that passengers reported feeling wind enter the aircraft. While pressurization prevents these doors from opening midflight, they can still be opened at low altitude. Pilots made an emergency emergency return back to Albuquerque as the man was restrained.

The aircraft had been in the air for approximately 30 minutes when the man made his move towards the door. Zach Etkind, known as ‘The Wonton Don’, found himself part of a group that tackled the man to the floor. The group managed to subdue the individual, employing duct tape and flex cuffs to hold him until the aircraft could safely land.

The perpetrator did not resist excessively once overpowered. Witnesses on the flight, including another passenger who shared their harrowing experience, described the terrifying moment when they felt a “huge gush of wind” as the man partially opened the emergency exit.

According to American Airlines,

American Airlines flight 1219 with service from Albuquerque (ABQ) to Chicago (ORD) returned to ABQ shortly after takeoff due to a disturbance in the cabin involving a disruptive customer. The flight landed safely and the aircraft was met by local law enforcement upon arrival.

Upon landing, law enforcement, including officers from the Albuquerque Police Department and representatives from the FBI’s Albuquerque division, met the aircraft.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

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  1. In future safety briefings, the FA will disclose the whereabouts of the plastic handcuffs and wrapping tape. There upon, the FA will demonstrate how to pull a piece a tape from the roll and click the plastic handcuffs around a wrist…..

    Only in America!!!

  2. He will get off with no punishment because he will be found “not guilty by reason of insanity” or some liberal DA will go, “Meh”. To bad air marshals aren’t around much anymore. I’d say shoot the son of a bitch. Clean up the mess when we land.

  3. Where were the flight attendants?…..aren’t they the first (and last) line of defense against terrorism or something? I mean…. they’re practically FAMS.

  4. Seriously Chris, If we are just 30 minutes in the FAs are in the front and back of the plane, so we as passengers do need to take action as well. Don’t put it all on them, people need to stand up for what’s right and not sit on the sidelines. Time to stop waiting for someone else do do it.

  5. Come on people – doesn’t anyone read the news anymore?. This idiot should have known that only Alaska Airlines offers you the option to exit a plane door midflight.

  6. Something doesn’t add up here. No way that 30 minutes after takeoff the door could have been opened enough to break the seal. And the gush of air would have been going out, not in. After 30 minutes inflight the door would have over 10,000 pounds of force holding it closed. Even The Hulk couldn’t do it.

  7. He could have ended up like the guy on Southwest 1763 who tried to rush the cockpit. He was taken off the plane in a body bag.

  8. Per FlightAware, the flight took off Tue at 1:54:59 PM (I adjusted for MST). The altitude starts dropping at the 2:06:20 PM approximately 30 second logging, less than 12 minutes into the flight. The speed is 610 mph and the altitude is 26,550 feet. That is probably when the captain has become aware of the open door although the previous 30 second logging shows a negative rate of rise. Maybe the 30 minutes is the time from the gate with doors closed. Even at that altitude there should be at least 6 PSI of air pressure differential so the 10,000 pounds against a door seems reasonable. My question is: “Was it an emergency exit or was it a door that lets people in and out while on the ground”.

  9. Thirty minutes into the flight, 1219 was around 27,000 feet (according to Flight Aware). It’s difficult to believe the passenger was able to partially open the door.

  10. Drunk or psych.

    Drunk: No sale of alcohol in airports; PBT for all adult passengers before boarding. Problem solved.
    Psych: Reopen the asylums and don’t let patients out until they’ve normalized. Problem largely solved.

    Easily preventable in a civilized society. Next.

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