An American Airlines flight made an emergency landing, reportedly because a passenger started smoking and threatening people in mid-air


An American Airlines flight was diverted and forced into an emergency landing when a passenger began smoking in the cabin, shouting at fellow passengers, and punching seats, according to multiple reports.

Flight AA 2408 from Phoenix, Arizona to Minneapolis, Minnesota, was diverted around one hour and 20 minutes into its journey Friday, landing in Denver, Colorado to have the passenger removed.

The passenger, who has not been identified, became unruly around an hour after the flight started, Jim Dickey, a passenger on the flight told CNN, and was yelling and threatening fellow passengers.

"He punched the seat in front of him and the lady screamed," Dickey told the network.

"You could tell by the sound that the plane started descending pretty quickly after the flight attendants started to notice."

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AP

Dickey told CNN that, around 20 minutes after the disruption started, the pilot told passengers the flight was being diverted.

TMZ reported that the plane's pilot told passengers that the diversion was because of a "security issue in the back."

Dickey told CNN that at one point during the flight, the man began smoking in the plane's bathroom, shouting: "You're all screwed," to flight attendants outside the bathroom while he was inside.

The man was in the bathroom for around 10 minutes, according to TMZ. The site said that while he was in the bathroom three American Airlines crew were "super concerned and huddled around the bathroom door."

TMZ said that the passenger was smoking cannabis. A video published by the site includes a passenger describing the item being smoked as "a joint."

According to both TMZ and The Sun newspaper, the man told fellow passengers during the flight that he was under the influence of cocaine.

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Both TMZ and British tabloid The Sun published the same video, purporting to show the same man after the plan landed in Denver. It shows him smoking and then striking a fellow passenger as he gets off the plane.

The passenger throws a punch around three minutes and 15 seconds into the video:

After the man was removed from the plane by law enforcement officers, he was placed on a medical trolley, a separate video published by TMZ showed.

In the video, the man can be heard asking officials to remove handcuffs put on him, becoming increasingly angry, and eventually shouting: "Take it off, it hurts. I'll f------ kill you!"

The man was not arrested and did not face any charges, but was treated in a Denver hospital, local police told The Sun, saying he had a "medical related" issue.

A video published by TMZ shows the man being placed, handcuffed, onto a gurney at Denver airport.
Screenshot/TMZ

After a delay of around two hours, the rest of the passengers returned to the plane and continued their journey, TMZ said.

"When we got back on the plane in Denver and continued on to Minneapolis, I don't think anybody said a word," Dickey told CNN.

American Airlines confirmed some details in a statement provided to multiple news outlets.

It said: "Flight 2408 diverted due to a disruptive passenger. Law enforcement met the flight, and the aircraft re-departed. Thank you to our crew members for taking care of our customers during this situation."