Atlanta, GA – Two Good Samaritans with backgrounds in law enforcement jumped up to help Delta airlines flight attendants subdue and handcuff an out-of-control passenger on Thursday.
The incident occurred on Delta Flight 1249 from Portland, Maine to Atlanta on Aug. 2, when a passenger began causing a commotion in the back of the airplane, FOX News reported.
“I could hear a lot of screaming in the back. One of the passengers was punching the [overhead seat] lights,” James Tennell told WAGA. “Passengers were telling me he was wanting to take the plane down.”
Ashley Decker, who was traveling with Tennell, described the scene as scary.
“He was trying to punch them, punch the windows,” Decker said. “It was kind of scary. 9/11 immediately went into my head.”
“Passengers were telling me he was wanting to take the plane down,” Tennell told the New York Post.
Tennell, a former corrections officer, jumped out of his seat and went to the back of the plane to see how he could assist the flight crew, WAGA reported. The agitated passenger had locked himself in the bathroom at that point.
“Somebody had to do something,” he said.
That’s when another passenger ran up to help and identified himself as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard with law enforcement experience, according to WAGA.
Tennell and the other man identified themselves as having worked in law enforcement to the flight attendants, and offered their help. The flight crew gave the men handcuffs.
Working together, they were able to subdue the unruly passenger and put him in handcuffs, and then put him back into his seat and secure the handcuffs to his seatbelt, WAGA reported.
“He did try to bite me a couple of times,” Tennell said.
The two men stood in the aisle and guarded the passenger until the flight landed, WAGA reported.
“There was a lot of lives at stake, where people could have been potentially hurt,” Tennell explained.
The other passengers on the plane burst into applause for the heroes when the plane landed, FOX News reported.
Law enforcement officers were in hand to take the handcuffed passenger into custody when the plane pulled up to the gate, the New York Post reported.
The airline also thanked the Good Samaritans for stepping in to help flight attendants with a potentially life-threatening situation.
“Delta flight 1249 from Portland, Maine to Atlanta was met by law enforcement in Atlanta due to a customer disturbance on board. Delta appreciates the assistance from those customers who aided the crew and applauds the professionalism of our flight attendants for their efforts in deescalating the situation. The safety and security of our customers and crew are always Delta’s top priority,” the Delta said in a statement to FOX News.