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Passengers ‘wrestled’ and duct-taped man mid-flight after he tried to open plane door
Featured Image Credit: X/@DonnieDoesWorld

Passengers ‘wrestled’ and duct-taped man mid-flight after he tried to open plane door

American Airlines was forced to turn the plane around due to the incident

Passengers on an American Airlines flight heading to Chicago were allegedly forced to 'wrestle' another customer to the ground after he tried to open the plane door mid-flight.

News of the altercation was shared by Barstool Sports personality Zach Etkind, host of the Barstool Sports series Donnie Does, who took to X to describe what went down on the flight on Tuesday (February 20).

Etkind had been on Flight 1219 travelling from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and settled into his seat after indulging in some Panda Express and tequlia.

In his post, he explained: "30 minutes after departing Albuquerque I was shaken out of my Panda Express and tequila induced stupor by a man trying to aggressively open the airplane door 4 rows back."

Etkind didn't initially offer any explanation as to why the customer had allegedly been trying to open the plane door, but he claimed that he and five other men jumped into action and 'had to wrestle him into the aisle'.

Etkind went on to recall how the group held the man until an American Airlines flight attendant came over and restrained him with duct tape and flex cuffs.

In an interview with Fox News Digital after the incident, Etkind said fellow passengers had heard the man say he 'had to get off this plane' before he attempted to open the emergency door.

Etkind claimed the man didn't resist too much.

Etkind added that the man did not resist 'too aggressively' when he was restrained.

Another passenger, who goes by @layzdubz on Instagram, said: "One of the scariest days of my life. Flying back home from ABQ and we’ve been in the air for about 30 minutes and a huge gush of wind comes out of no where.

"This guy opened the emergency exit door. People were tackling him down and put him in zip ties. Had to emergency land back."

The flight from Albuquerque to Chicago is less than three hours, but passengers didn't end up making it to Chicago as the plane was forced to turn around as a result of the altercation.

Etkind added on X: "Just safely landed back in ABQ but HOLY S**T."

The X user later shared another image taken at the airport which showed a man being led down a flight of stairs away from the plane by four uniformed officers.

Following the incident, a representative for American Airlines confirmed to UNILAD that the flight was forced to return shortly after taking off due to 'a disturbance in the cabin involving a disruptive customer'.

Etkind shared an image of the man being escorted from the plane.

The spokesperson added that the flight 'landed safely' back at Albuquerque International Sunport, and that it was 'met by local law enforcement upon arrival'.

The Albuquerque Police Department has not commented publicly on the incident at the time of writing (21 February), but the FBI's office in Albuquerque did release a statement about the events.

“The Albuquerque Division of the FBI is aware of the incident and we are currently investigating," it said.

UNILAD has contacted American Airlines and the Albuquerque Police Department for further comment.