A man has tried to open a plane's exit door during descent. Picture: YouTube/Richard MunassiSource:YouTube
A man has tried to open a plane's exit door during descent. Picture: YouTube/Richard MunassiSource:YouTube

Man lunges for plane door as flight comes in to land

PASSENGERS aboard a recent American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Minnesota are applauding the crew for how they handled a frightening incident in which a young man tried to open the exit door during the plane's descent.

"I think American Airlines did a great job, especially the pilot of the plane kind of keeping everything in order and keeping everyone calm," said passenger Richard Munassi in a statement to CBS Minnesota.

According to witnesses, the commotion began a few moments after the pilot announced that the flight was preparing for descent to Minneapolis - St Paul International Airport, Fox News reported.

"There was a lot of yelling and screaming. I thought perhaps two of the passengers had gotten into maybe a fist fight," Munassi said.

In reality, the commotion was not a fight, but a number of passengers that had intervened when they noticed the young man trying to open the cabin door.

Another witness, Salman Elmi, said the passengers were able to keep the man from reaching the handle until the flight crew could get to him themselves.

"It was a crazy experience," said Elmi, who added that he heard one of the passengers threaten to punch the young man.

"We came in hot, probably the hottest landing I've ever been on and I fly all the time," Munassi said, referring to the aircraft making a quicker than normal landing.

"Everyone was dead quiet on the flight. You could cut the tension with a knife."

Munassi later captured footage of the suspect being escorted off the plane by police.

The incident also marks the fourth time in the past two months that passengers have tried to open an aircraft's doors before the flight had come to an end.

In July, a 23-year-old man aboard a Delta flight from Seattle to Beijing was caught lunging for the exit before engaging in a fight with the plane's crew and passengers.

A few days later, an AirAsia passenger tried the same thing. And in early August, a 17-year-old successfully opened the emergency door of a Copa Airlines aeroplane after it landed on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport before sliding down the wing and onto the ground.

According to an aviation blogger who spoke with Travel + Leisure, however, it's "physically impossible" to open a plane door at cruising altitude, as the pressure within the plane "creates a situation where the door cannot open.

It's unknown how high off the ground the American Airlines flight was when the latest incident took place, but witnesses say he was waiting until the plane got closer to the ground before he attempted to open the door.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission.