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Video: Man breaks into American Airlines cockpit, damages controls before trying to jump out window

American Airlines jets are parked at Terminal C as a Skywest jet taxis to the gate at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on April 19, 2020. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)
January 12, 2022

A passenger forced his way into the cockpit of an American Airlines plane and damaged flight controls as the plane was boarding for a flight from Honduras to Miami on Tuesday.

According to ABC News, the man had rushed down the jetway during boarding and broke into the cockpit before attempting to jump out the plane’s window as pilots tried to stop him. Wild video of the moment was shared on Twitter.

“We applaud our outstanding crew members for their professionalism in handling a difficult situation,” American Airlines said in a statement.

Reuters reported that after crew members stepped in, the man was taken into custody by local law enforcement.

The man’s motive remains unclear.

Twitter user Ariel Sierra posted a photo of the damaged flight controls.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, was grounded at Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras as a result of the damage, displacing 121 passengers and six crew members.

The airline reportedly sent a replacement plane to the Honduras airport and was set to depart at 9:30 p.m.

The incident comes after a difficult holiday season for American Airlines, during which nearly 2,300 flights were canceled, the New York Post reported. Analysts claimed those cancelations were a result of severe weather conditions and “an inability to fill out schedules from their labor reserves.”

“Flight Attendant staffing at American is strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues,” flight attendants’ union APFA said at the time.

Earlier this week, an intense viral video showed Los Angeles Police Department officers rescuing a pilot seconds before a train crashed into his downed aircraft.

In bodycam footage shared by the LAPD on Twitter, multiple officers can be seen pulling the injured pilot from the downed plane that had crashed in the middle of train tracks. The first responders and pilot escape the tracks seconds before a train plows through the wreckage. 

“Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Rd. and Osborne St., just before an oncoming train collided with the aircraft,” the LAPD tweeted, along with the video.

LAPD Officer Damien Castro said his “training and experience kicked in” and that “the adrenaline helped” the officers handle the intense situation, NBC 4 reported.

“When things like that happened, you just go and do it,” Castro said. “You don’t really have time to think.”