ATLANTA – Veterans on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa had their instincts put to the test on Veterans Day. TSA officials say a disturbance involving an erratic passenger with a weapon on board forced the flight to divert to Atlanta Friday night.
“The lady came up and told us that the person sitting to the right of her seat had a gun and pointed it at them and said he was going to cut several people on the plane,”[ads1]; recalled passenger Larry Cumberbatch.
Cumberbatch, a U.S. Navy veteran, told FOX 5 that crew members beat him and another former member of the military on board to help subdue the suspect if something escalated. So they came up with a plan for him to switch seats with the woman who alerted flight crew members to the threats.
“He has a weapon and I don’t know what kind of weapon it is … I said, ‘hey, I’m going to sit here from now on’ and he said ‘no the young lady is going to sit there’ … he became totally crazy and he said ‘oh no!’ …and then he got up and went to the back of the plane,” Cumberbatch explained.
He told FOX 5 when the plane landed in Atlanta and passengers began disembarking, the suspect refused to fly and then walked toward the flight attendants with his hands in his pockets. That’s when another man, with a law enforcement background, tackled him.
“He was worried that his movements would go towards them and hurt them … he just grabbed him, the bear hugged him, and they fell,” Cumberbatch said.
Atlanta police arrested the suspect. Cell phone video obtained by FOX 5 showed police taking the man into custody. Cumberbatch and the other men who helped were praised by their fellow passengers on board for their bravery. He said it was turbulence they were more than equipped to handle.
“Serving in the military, that’s what you do,” he said.
Authorities have not yet identified the suspect or shared any other details. A statement from the TSA reads in part:
“TSA takes its role in transportation security very seriously. The situation with the Frontier flight is under investigation with the US Attorney’s Office, as they are the lead federal agency in this case. TSA has initiated an internal review of the incident by viewing CCTV, the airport’s security checkpoint processes /operations and will continue to provide updates as they become available. TSA can confirm that magazines are prohibited in the cabin but allowed in checked baggage.”
You can find information on which goods are permitted here.