NEWARK, NJ – Passengers on a United Airlines flight on Monday helped subdue a man who they said stood up and screamed about the CIA, national security leaks and poison.
The disruption occurred during Flight 116 from Hong Kong that eventually landed safely at its scheduled destination in Newark.
Passengers aboard the Boeing 777 said the unidentified man began making troubling statements about 10 hours into the flight.
“There was this gentleman screaming that he had names of people that work for the CIA and he was screaming those names — not making too much sense,” Jacques Roizen told CNN’s The Situation Room.
But it wasn’t until the man reached for something in his pocket that a group of passengers converged and tackled him.
“He resisted and started saying things like ‘they’re trying to kill me, they’re trying to poison me,'” Roizen said.
Roizen believed that one of the first things the man mentioned was the “NSA leaker,” and he wanted the flight diverted to Canada.
Edward Snowden, who admitted this month to leaking National Security Agency documents about classified U.S. surveillance programs to journalists, is said to have fled the United States for Hong Kong.
United crew members provided plastic handcuffs that were used to restrain the disruptive passenger for the final hours of the flight during which he calmed down, Roizen said.
Law enforcement officials met the flight and took the man to a hospital for evaluation, FBI spokesman Luis Rodriguez said.
No charges were immediately filed, Rodriguez said.
United said that a passenger became disruptive, but the crew followed procedures and got the situation under control.
By Carol Cratty
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