​Passenger Tries To Open Exit Door On Alaska Airlines Flight

Staff Reporter
Aug. 5, 2014

A passenger tries to open an exit door during an Alaska Airlines flight. The crew helped restrain him using shoelaces and seat-belt extensions.

An FBI spokeswoman said Alexander Herrera, 23, made “unusual statements” before trying to open door Monday.

Witness Henry Pignataro tells KGW-TV that he and another man held down the passenger, and flight attendants brought three sets of shoelaces, which were used to bind Herrera’s legs.

Pignataro said Herrera then calmly sat “surrounded by big guys” until the plane landed.Herrera has been booked into jail on a charge of interfering with a flight crew.

Passengers and crew members who were interviewed by Port of Portland Police officers said Herrera made unusual statements before he tried to open the door. But federal officials declined to elaborate on what Herrera might have said.

Ryan Oelrich told ABC News he was sleeping onboard the flight when he awoke to a “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.”

Oelrich said passengers seated near Herrera in Row 17 jumped on him and held him down until flight attendants could bring restraints.

Alaska Airlines said the emergency door on the 737-800 is equipped with a lock to prevent it from being opened in-flight.

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