Man Arrested on Diverted Flight Said 9/11 Was an Inside Job, Kicked Cockpit Door
The man who caused a flight bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to land in Lubbock, Texas Thursday made suicidal statements and said the U.S. government was responsible for the September 11th terror attacks.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 24-year-old Jerry Ba Nguyen of Las Vegas, Nevada was arrested after American Airlines Flight 2542, which departed from Ontario, California, landed at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport early Thursday morning (Sept. 22). He has since been charged in a federal criminal complaint with interference with a flight crew.
The complaint against Nguyen claims he "knowingly interfered and attempted to interfere with the performance of the duties of a flight crew member and flight attendant, lessening their ability to perform their duties, but assaulting and intimidating the flight attendant and flight crew member by refusing to comply with instructions from flight attendants and attempting to forcibly enter the cockpit."
Nguyen kicked and hit the cockpit door, which led to passengers helping to physically restrain him with flex cuffs. However, the flight crew had asked some passengers to help restrain him if necessary before he had started banging on the cockpit door.
Flight attendants had noticed Nguyen's behavior was erratic before the plane took off, the complaint noted. He had walked toward the front of the plane and "appeared agitated" before takeoff, but was calmed down by flight attendants.
After the plane took off, flight crew noticed that Nguyen was behaving strangely. He reportedly mumbled about his SIM card being stolen from his phone, made suicidal statements, said the police weren't his friends and that the U.S. government was responsible for the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
Due to the above incidents, the flight's captain decided to divert and land in Lubbock. After Nguyen was removed from the flight, it took off toward its original destination and landed safely at around 7 a.m.
If convicted of the federal charge of Interfering with a Flight Crew, Nguyen faces a
maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.