ATLANTE – Veterans on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa had their instincts tested on Veterans Day. TSA officials said a disruption involving an erratic passenger with a weapon on board forced the flight to divert to Atlanta on Friday night.
“The lady came over and told us the person sitting to the right of her seat had a gun and showed it to them and said he was going to cut several people on the flight,” passenger Larry Cumberbatch recalled.
Cumberbatch, a US Navy veteran, told FOX 5 that crew members bugged him and another former military member on board to help subdue the suspect if he escalated. . So they hatched a plan for him to switch seats with the woman who informed the flight crew members of the threats.
“He has a gun and I don’t know what kind of gun it is…I said ‘hey, I’m going to be sitting here from now on’ and he said ‘no, the young lady going to be sitting there’… he went crazy, and he said ‘oh no!’… then he got up and went to the back of the plane,” Cumberbatch explained.
He told FOX 5 as the plane landed in Atlanta and passengers began to descend, the suspect refused to disembark and then walked towards the flight attendants with his hands in his pockets. It was then that another man, with law enforcement training, tackled him.
“He was worried that his movements were going towards them and hurting them…he just grabbed him, hugged him and they fell,” Cumberbatch said.
Atlanta police have arrested the suspect. Cellphone video obtained by FOX 5 showed police arrested the man. Cumberbatch and the other men who helped earned praise from their fellow passengers on board for their bravery. He said it was turbulence they were more than equipped to handle.
“Serving in the military is what you do,” he said.
Authorities have not identified the suspect or shared any other details at this time. A statement from the TSA reads in part:
“The TSA takes its role in transportation security very seriously. The situation with the Frontier flight is under investigation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as they are the lead federal agency in this matter. The TSA has begun an internal review of the incident by viewing CCTV, airport security checkpoint processes/operations and will continue to provide updates as they become available TSA can confirm that blades are prohibited in the cabin, but permitted in checked baggage.”
You can find information about permitted items here.