Flight Forced To Turn Back After Man Yells Jihad

Pilots of a United Airlines flight were forced to turn back the plane on Monday evening after a man onboard became unruly and yelled for jihad.

United Flight 1074 took off Monday at 10:15 p.m. from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington to head for Denver, with 33 passengers and six crew members onboard. Shortly after takeoff, an unnamed man “failed to comply with crew instructions,” United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger said.

The man decided to charge toward the cockpit yelling the word “jihad”, but was subdued and held down by passengers for the remainder of the flight. Air traffic control audio reveals one of the pilots saying, “He ran forward toward the cockpit, and he is being restrained by passengers.” Once things settled down, the pilot radioed that everything was under control and that they were turning around to take him back to the airport.

The incident ended not only without physical injury to anyone, but somewhat peacefully as well. A cell phone video taken by one of the passengers reveals a scene different than what is usually seen in these situations: the man pleaded with passengers and the crew, saying “Please stop, please stop, they said call it off,” and “I’m so sorry,” while weeping. Perhaps uncharacteristic to the situation, one passenger tried to calm the man, telling him “You’re OK. We’re going to get you off this plane, buddy.”

The plane landed back at Dulles International Airport at 10:40 p.m., and the man was taken by airport authorities to a local hospital. The passengers were rebooked on other flights.

A government source told CNN that the man does not seem to have any connections with jihadi groups or terrorism. He also had no weapons or bombs on him during the outburst.

Kimberly Gibbs of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said that as of Tuesday the man has not been formally charged with a crime.

The incident is in the midst of a high pressure situation with the Islamic State, a jihadi group which encourages American citizens to join their cause — such as a former US Air Force mechanic who was charged with trying to emigrate to Syria and “fight violent jihad”.