Passengers Use Shoelaces to Subdue Man Trying to Open Airplane Door

A man making “unusual statements” attempted to open an airplane door today during a flight from Alaska to Portland, Oregon. Passengers eventually subdued the man, who authorities said weighed 220 pounds, using shoelaces and seat-belt extensions

Once the plane landed in Portland, FBI agents arrested Alexander Michael Herrera, 23, on a charge of interfering with a flight crew.

The incident began as the Alaska Airlines flight made its descent into Portland. Passengers and airline employees told authorities that Herrera made several strange statements before attempting to open an exit row door.

One passenger, Ryan Oelrich, told ABC News he awoke from a nap to “loud hissing noise” and “lots of screaming.

"My first thought was that the plane must be going down, but then I heard someone screaming to stop him, take him down," he said. "I looked behind me and in the exit row was a very large gentleman who was attempting to open the exit row door."

Passengers seated near Herrera responded quickly and soon had the man pinned to the ground.

Witness Henry Pignataro told KGW-TV that a woman seated next to Herrera asked for help.

"I put him in a choke hold and brought him down to the ground," Pignataro said.

Once he was under control, Herrera was seated and “surrounded by big guys.” Somewhat amazingly, the plane landed only nine minutes behind schedule.

[Associated Press/ABC News]