Shoelaces Foil Man's Plan to Open Airplane Door During Flight

The Atlantic
Shoelaces Foil Man's Plan to Open Airplane Door During Flight

View photo

Shoelaces Foil Man's Plan to Open Airplane Door During Flight

Well, be thankful you weren't flying from Anchorage, Alaska to Portland, Oregon Monday morning. Passengers on Alaska Airlines Flight No. 132 had to restrain a very large man who tried to open the emergency exit door while the plane was the plane was descending. 

RELATED: Suspicious Mail Appears on Alaskan Politician's Doorsteps

Passenger Ryan Oelrich told ABC News he awoke to a "loud hissing noise" and people screaming during the flight. What was happening around him? Passengers were fighting to stop the roughly 200 pound, 23-year-old Alexander Michael Herrera from opening the emergency exit door right as the plane was to make its descent. FBI spokesperson Beth Anne Steele said Herrara made some "unusual statements" before setting off an alarm when he pulled the lever on the emergency door. 

RELATED: What Exactly Did the Grounded JetBlue Captain Say?

Thankfully, a group of passengers was able to bring Herrera down. "I put him in a choke hold and brought him down to the ground," Henry Pignataro told KGW-TV. With two men holding Herrera still, the crew set out to find supplies on the plane to restrain him further so the plane could complete its descent relatively drama-free. This is what they came up with, KGW reports

He said they brought three sets of shoelaces, which Pignataro and the other man used to bind Herrera's legs.

The flight attendants then brought extra seat belt extensions and the witnesses used those to further restrain Herrera, Pignataro said.

They eventually put Herrera in a seat "surrounded by big guys" while the plane landed. He was arrested by the FBI once they landed on the ground. He's being charged with  interfering with a flight crew and his first court date should be on Tuesday. 

View Comments (427)