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Exclusive: NJ Doctor Helps Subdue Unruly Passenger On Flight From Germany

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Christopher Ricchetti

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CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) -- A Cherry Hill man spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News about his efforts to subdue the unruly US Airwyas passenger who threatened to “raise hell’ with a “bomb in his bag.”

It was supposed to be the end of a pleasant father-son trip to Germany, the plane ride back to Philadelphia International Airport was anything but relaxing for Christopher Ricchetti.

One hour into the US Airways flight, an announcement was made.

“Is there a doctor or any medical personnel who can come to the front,” said Ricchetti, remembering the beginning of his harrowing trip.

Ricchetti is the chief anesthetist at Kennedy Health System in Cherry Hill.

He went to the front of the plane after the announcement to see how he could help and a flight attendant told him a young passenger, who was acting irrational, appeared to be under the influence of some type of substance. (see related story)

“His eyes were wide open and he was making sharp movements, and he was speaking in spurts of fragmented sentences.”

Watch the video…

The passenger, Alex Nelson, 21, of St. Paul, Minn., according to the FBI made a threat on the plane.

“The woman who was sitting next to him said ‘he said three times to me that he had a bomb in his bag under his legs,’ so we distracted him to one side and pulled the bag out from underneath him.”

Chris said he knew Nelson would have to be restrained. With no air marshall on-board, Chris and another passenger held him down and sat with him for the final five hours of the flight.

“We were afraid that he was going to cause another scare on the plane.”

Once the plane landed in Philadelphia the FBI was waiting for Nelson who immediately took him into custody.

“You can’t do that on a transatlantic thing like that, the plane was packed with people.”

Nelson remains in FBI custody, held on charges for disrupting a flight.

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