An unruly passenger caused Continental Airlines Flight No. 546 to make an unexpected emergency landing in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Sunday.

Continental Airlines Flight 546 was grounded after an unruly passenger tried to open the plane door mid-flight. Photo by Contri
Continental Airlines Flight 546 was grounded after an unruly passenger tried to open the plane door midflight. Photo by Contri

According to Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea, a man was yelling at a flight attendant that he had to get off the plane. The man attempted to open a door near the front of the plane but was restrained by two other passengers nearby. Lea stated the man was from Burbank, Illinois.

Houston resident Tony Harris tackled the man as he reached for the door handle. According to Chicago Tribune, Harris, a U.S. Army veteran, said he took the man down from behind with a chokehold.

Harris, 60, struggled with the man twice before handcuffing him to a seat in the front of the plane. He rode with the passenger first class until the plane landed in St. Louis, where the man was taken into custody.

Sara Olkon, a passenger and former Chicago Tribune reporter, said there were loud screams aboard as men tried to stop the passenger. “It was the sound of terror,” she said.

Olkon said authorities arrived and thoroughly inspected the airplane for any explosives. They checked the man’s bag and did not find any suspicious items.

Police removed the passenger and the airplane was later cleared to continue its flight to Chicago. It arrived only one hour behind schedule.

Sunday morning, another flight was diverted because of suspicious activity. Delta Airlines flight 1706 from Detroit to San Diego was rerouted to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The FBI was informed of “a potential security threat” when a flight attendant found a suspicious note in the lavatory, according to CNN. The plane was grounded and a team deplaned passengers and searched the plane for any threats.

According to FBI officials, the flight was cleared to continue to San Diego after agents found “no suspicious devices” onboard.

Officials have declined to comment on further details of the incident and whether it was related to Continental Flight 546.

As to the reason for the man’s actions on Flight 546, the FBI confirmed that the incident was not terror related. Instead, Harris told reporters that the man told him he was simply having “a rough Mother’s Day.”

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