A passenger has allegedly “stormed” the cockpit of an American Airlines flight and caused damage to the aircraft before trying to climb out a window.
According to the airline, passengers were boarding a flight between Honduras and Miami when a man rushed into the open cockpit.
In a statement published by the New York Times, American Airlines said the man “caused damage to the aircraft” before crew members managed to intervene and local authorities were able to apprehend him.
“We applaud our outstanding crew members for their professionalism in handling a difficult situation,” the airline said.
Footage taken by a Twitter user who appeared to be at the airport at the time of the incident showed the unruly passenger apparently trying to escape via the cockpit window.
— Ariel Sierra (@ArielSierra) January 12, 2022
A journalist for ABC News in the US reported that the man broke the aircraft’s flight controls and that passengers had to board a replacement plane, which lead to a sizable delay of about seven hours.
It is not currently known what the man’s motives were, but his actions come at a time of heightened unruly passenger behaviour on US flights which has surged since the global pandemic began.
In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded 693 incidents, almost eight times less than last year. The year before, in 2019, it only recorded 183.
Last year, the FAA clocked 5,338 reports of disruptive passengers, with a majority (3,856) handed out to passengers who refused to comply with the country’s mask mandate.
featured image: Twitter/Ariel Sierra