SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Police on Monday said a man with a Yemeni passport who rushed the cockpit of a flight headed for San Francisco has no clear ties to any known terrorist groups.
The in-flight disturbance on Sunday — marking the third reported incident of the day — comes on the heels of the announced death of Islamic terrorism icon Osama bin Laden.
Passengers on board an American Airlines flight about to land at San Francisco Airport helped take down a man who pounded on the cockpit door 10 minutes before landing and had to be wrestled to the ground.
CBS TV reporter Sharon Chin told KNX 1070 a retired police officer and a Secret Service agent helped flight attendants subdue Rageit Almurisi, 28, on American Airlines Flight 1561.
Authorities have not established a possible motive for why got up from his seat and went toward the cockpit door 10 minutes before the flight was supposed to land, San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said.
But Rodriguez told the San Francisco Chronicle that Almurisi had no clear connection to terrorism.
Almurisi, who had a Yemeni passport, was yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant, Rodriguez said.
“They were able to get him to ground and a flight attendant put him in plastic handcuffs,” Rodriguez told The Associated Press.
The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10 p.m. and the man was taken into police custody. The flight came from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, authorities said.
Though he carried a Yemeni passport, it wasn’t clear if Almurisi’s nationality was also Yemeni, Rodriguez said.
Bob Melrose of KCBS San Francisco reports the man used his California ID card to board the plane in Chicago.
He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, a federal offense.
During the scuffle, Almurisi sustained some bruises and was checked at a hospital before being transported to San Mateo County Jail, the officer said.
No one else on the plane was hurt and the airport continued operating normally with security levels unchanged, the officer said.
It was the third disturbance of the day in U.S. airspace.
A Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago diverted in St. Louis after a 34-year-old man from Illinois tried to open a plane door during the flight, officials said.
Continental spokeswoman Julie King said Flight No. 546 landed around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and was grounded about an hour before resuming it journey.
FBI and airport police questioned the passenger. No charges have been filed.
Shortly before that, a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to San Diego was landed instead in Albuquerque, N.M., because of a security scare, but authorities found “no suspicious devices” on the plane, an FBI spokesman said.
Agency spokesman Frank Fisher declined to clarify the nature of the “potential security threat” that caused Flight 1706 to land in New Mexico. He said agents searched the plane and interviewed the crew and 107 passengers before clearing the aircraft to fly again.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
the man used his California I-D to board the plane in Chicago: