PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia was diverted to Phoenix Thursday due to a disruptive passenger, according to American Airlines.
“American Airlines Flight 754 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Philadelphia (PHL), diverted to Phoenix (PHX) due to a disruptive passenger. The passenger was removed, and the flight re-departed for Philadelphia,” a statement from the airline read, in part.
The flight arrived in Philadelphia Thursday night just before 8:30. Eyewitness News spoke to two men who reportedly helped subdue the man until authorities arrived.
“We’re sitting there on the plane and the guy comes up to the front to give a speech and starts talking about the government and his uncle was missing in action,” passenger Chip Yates told Eyewitness News.
Yates happens to be a pilot and was sitting just a few feet away when the man reportedly started screaming and threatening other passengers.
“We got duct tape and handcuffs and we had to hold the guy in his seat and fasten his seatbelt, and said if you get up we’re gonna have to duct tape you together,” he said.
Bill Shaw told Eyewitness News he was sitting in first class when the man started to pace up and down the aisle, complaining about people with money.
“The poor guy needs help. He scared the hell out of everyone,” Shaw said. “I was scared because we didn’t know at first if he had somebody with him.”
Phoenix Police took the man into custody for a mental evaluation.
The plane finally landed in Philly just before 8:30. Passengers walked by both Yates and Shaw to thank them for subduing the passenger so quickly.
“The entire plane was nervous, you could feel the energy from the back of the plane,” said passenger Christine Cearfoss. “Everybody was just anxious to see what was gonna happen when we landed.”
Police have not releasing the suspect’s identification or saying if he will face charges.