Man Attempts to Storm Cockpit, Kicks and Strangles Crew in Melee on JetBlue Flight

By Kurt Stolz on 24 September 2021
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A JetBlue plane taking off

A man traveling on a JetBlue flight from Boston to San Juan, Puerto Rico, went on a rampage that included attempting to storm the cockpit, and kicking and strangling flight attendants, an FBI affidavit shows.

JetBlue Flight 261 left the gate at 5:15 p.m. local time Wednesday, 45 minutes late.  With little more than one hour remaining in the flight, the passenger, Khalil El Dahr, attempted to make a phone call using the aircraft’s in-flight Wi-Fi and “became angry about the call’s unsuccess (sic),” a flight attendant told the FBI.  Half an hour later, he reportedly rushed towards the cockpit, shouting in both Spanish and Arabic that he wanted to be shot.

El Dahr then, according to the affidavit, grabbed a flight attendant by the collar and necktie and kicked him in the chest.  At one point, the crew member was unable to breathe, Special Agent William Lopez of the FBI’s San Juan Division wrote in the affidavit.

“While he was yelling, he was still holding the JetBlue flight attendant by their tie,” according to the affidavit. “This resulted in the tie tightening and ultimately prevented the JetBlue flight attendant from breathing.”

Eventually, according to the affidavit, six or seven crew members were able to restrain El Dahr in flex cuffs, from which he broke loose.  The crew then used four seat-belt extenders, a new pair of flex cuffs, and a uniform necktie to restrain him to a seat.

The aircraft landed safely without further incident in San Juan, where El Dahr was taken into custody.  He now faces felony charges of interfering with a flight crew.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)         

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