A cell phone video shot by passenger Richard Munassi shows police escorting a man in sunglasses off the plane once it landed at Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport.
Navigating through the airport can sometimes feel like an adventure, but frequent flyer Munassi will tell you it’s a lot calmer on land than what he experienced Saturday in the sky.
“There was a lot of yelling and screaming. I thought perhaps two of the passengers had gotten into maybe a fist fight,” he said.
The scuffle he heard was actually passengers trying to stop the man from opening an exit door mid-flight as the plane was descending.
“It wasn’t immediately after (the pilot) letting us know that we were in descent. It was a couple of minutes afterward, so he had a plan to open that door as we were getting close to the ground,” Munassi said.
Another witness on board, Salman Elmi, watched as passengers tried to subdue the man, who was reaching for the door handle until flight attendants were able to help. “It was a crazy experience. I just hear shouting, ‘I’m about to punch him,'”‘ Elmi said of another passenger who was trying to stop the man.
Both Elmi and Munassi said the flight crew handled the situation well.
“I think American Airlines did a great job, especially the pilot of the plane kind of keeping everything in order and keeping everyone calm,” said Munassi.
Once the man was subdued and seated, Munassi said, the pilot told everyone on board to buckle up for a quick landing. “We came in hot, probably the hottest landing I’ve ever been on and I fly all the time,” he said. “Everyone was dead quiet on the flight. You could cut the tension with a knife.”
Once safely on ground, several officers escorted the man off the flight. Munassi said the man didn’t resist police, show emotion, or say a word as he passed down the aisle.
Roughly 24 hours later, Munassi was back at MSP, ready to hop on another plane, as he does so often.
And despite what happened during his last flight, he’s carrying no concerns on board with him.
A MSP spokesperson said that, because the incident happened in the air, the investigation was turned over to the FBI.
CBS Minnesota reached out to the FBI for more information but didn’t hear back Sunday night.