Passenger arrested after trying to rush cockpit
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Authorities have a passenger in custody after he tried to rush the cockpit on an American Airlines flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Miami, as it taxied on the runway.
Several passengers on board Flight AA 320, restrained the unruly man, who the FBI identified as 24-year-old Ryan Snider, from Canada. "He just ran to the front, pretty quickly," noted Ronald Webb, a passenger on board the flight, late Friday morning.
Malik Cann was one of three men who helped subdue Snider. He said the man got up from his seat after the plane landed on the runway. He said Snider refused to sit down and started screaming, "Get me off the plane! Get me off the plane!"
Cann said flight attendants tried to calm Snider down by speaking to him. After he refused, two male passengers joined the flight attendants to try to reassure the man. When he continued to refuse, Cann said he stepped in and locked Snider's arm behind his back to subdue him. "I actually extended my hand to shake his hand and maneuvered and flipped him," he said. "I was able to hold him like that and kneel him on the ground."
Cann said he is a trained security guard in his country of Bermuda, and he was concerned for the safety of children and elderly women who were seated in the immediate area.
The plane pulled into gate D48 at Miami International Airport at 10:12 a.m. The passengers held Snider down until authorities arrived on board and took him off the flight.
Several law enforcement agencies responded, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Miami-Dade Police. ICE took Snider into their custody, placing him in a van on the tarmac and then drove him to the Homeland Security Offices at the airport to be questioned. Police dogs sniffed luggage as a precaution.
American Airlines released a statement, that read in part, "After landing, a passenger was not cooperating with crew member instructions and was acting suspiciously. Airport police were called and they removed the passenger from the plane."
Webb confirmed the plane had already landed when the incident occurred, but the commotion still caused him concern. "We were a little bit worried because we didn't know what it was all about," he said. "It was frightening with terrorism as it is these days."
The FBI is investigating, but they said the incident was not terrorism-related and Snider was not on the no-fly list. They released the following statement: "We are aware of an incident on a plane in bound to MIA today (AA 320) in which a passenger reportedly rushed the cockpit door. The FBI is investigating the alleged incident, nevertheless the plane did land safely without damage to the plane or injuries."
Snider faces federal charges including interference with a flight crew. He is expected to make his first appearance in federal court sometime Tuesday.
There is no indication that there were any changes or precautions taken to other flights, and business continues as usual on the tarmac and control tower at MIA. According to sources, during questioning, Snider did not appear to be under the influence of anything but, they said, "He was acting like a wise ass."
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