Enlarge image

American Airlines plane (symbolic image)

Photo: H. Rick Bamman / ZUMA Wire / dpa

A man tried to pull open an emergency exit door on a passenger plane during a flight in the United States.

A video published by USA Today, among others, shows other passengers pulling the man away from the door and overpowering him.

Several people then lie on the man in the hallway and push him to the ground.

It is still unclear what triggered the man's behavior.

One of the intervening passengers, Blaze Ward, told ABC-7 that the man had already overcome the door's safety mechanism and had both hands on the lever that opens the door.

"He was a big guy and had a pretty tight grip on him," Ward said.

A difference in the air pressure in the cabin could also be felt and “a whistle” could be heard.

Return to Albuquerque

The American Airlines plane took off on Tuesday from Albuquerque, New Mexico, bound for Chicago, Illinois.

The incident occurred shortly after takeoff when the aircraft was at an altitude of 7,900 meters.

After the incident, the plane turned around and flew back to Albuquerque.

The FAA said American Airlines Flight 1219 returned safely to Albuquerque "after the crew reported a passenger disturbance."

The airline said local security forces were waiting for its plane when it landed.

The number of incidents in the USA involving airline passengers behaving irregularly reached a record high of almost 6,000 in 2021.

However, according to the FAA, in 2022 and 2023 the number of these incidents was significantly lower, at more than 2,000 each.