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Passenger tries to open emergency exit on flight during plane's descent

A passenger on a commercial flight from Alaska to Oregon was arrested Monday after trying to open an emergency exit during the plane's descent.
Passenger opens plane doorEnlarge
A passenger on a commercial flight from Alaska to Oregon was arrested May 27, 2013 after trying to open an emergency exit during the plane's descent. (BRUCE BENNETT/AFP/Getty Images)

A passenger on a commercial flight from Alaska to Oregon was arrested Monday after trying to open an emergency exit during the plane's descent.

Other passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight had to help restrain 23-year-old Alexander Michael Herrera with shoelaces and seatbelt extensions. Witnesses told the FBI he had made "unusual statements" before trying to open the plane door.

Henry Pignataro, who was also on the flight, said a woman seated next to Herrera asked for help.

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"I put him in a choke hold and brought him down to the ground," Pignataro said.

Herrera, believed to be from Arizona, stood up and tried to open the emergency exit door about 10 minutes before the flight was scheduled to land. At the time, the plane was at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

After Pignataro and another man held Herrera down and bound his legs with the shoelaces and seatbelt extensions, he was placed in a seat where he calmly sat "surrounded by big guys" for the nine minutes left in the flight.

Herrera was booked into a Portland jail on a charge of interfering with a flight crew. He is expected to make his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/passenger-tries-open-emergency-exit-flight-during-plane-descent