Video: Passenger rushes jet cockpit screaming "jihad"

The lessons of 9/11 remain ingrained in the consciousness of air travelers in the US, as this harrowing video demonstrates. When a United Airlines passenger ran at the cockpit of a flight taking off from Washington DC to Denver screaming “jihad, jihad,” the people around him tackled and subdued him. Judging by what we see in the video, they did a few other things along the way, too:

The pilots told air traffic controllers that the passenger started acting violently but was later subdued by other passengers, according to, which provides audio of air traffic control transmissions.

“He ran forward towards the cockpit, and he is being restrained by passengers,” one of the pilots said. “Cockpit is secure, and we would like to return to the airport and have the authorities meet him.”

A cell phone video shows the man, bruised on his face, held down by other passengers.

“Don’t move,” one passenger says. “You’re OK. We’re going to get you off this plane, buddy.”

So far, law enforcement isn’t releasing the man’s name, but it sounds like someone calls him “David” in the clip. CNN’s source says that the government hasn’t found any connection to terrorism, but it’s pretty soon after the incident to determine that with any certainty. It’s at least as likely that he’s a mental case; the suspect is being held in hospital, which might be the right place for him anyway. Of course, the two possibilities are hardly mutually exclusive, either.

Here’s the video of his arrest, which seems to support the “mental case” impression:

More than thirteen years later, passengers still realize that they are responsible for flight safety as well as the captain and crew. That’s good news for those of us who do a significant amount of travel. Even after more than a decade of security theater from the TSA and what often looks like bureaucratic incompetence in air travel, the lesson taught by the brave heroes of Flight 93 remain with us. That’s a great testament to them, and yet another reminder of it to us.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023
David Strom 10:01 AM on February 04, 2023