Plane Makes Emergency Landing as Arab Passenger Yells 'God is Great! You're All Going to Die'

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By Justin L. Ayoub, Christian Post Reporter
October 19, 2011|12:34 pm

A passenger yelled "Allahu Akbar...you're all going to die" aboard a Southwest Airlines flight on Tuesday.

Ali Reza Shahsavari, 29, was arrested after the flight made an emergency landing at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Texas at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The flight from Los Angeles was scheduled to land in Kansas City, according to an Amarillo Globe News report.

The incident started with Shahsavari arguing with another passenger. The flight crew separated the men, according to the police.

Shahsavari then went into the bathroom and started yelling from the rear of the plane.

Passengers said he stood at back of the plane and yelled "You're all going to die, you're all going to hell. Allahu Akbar," which translates to "God is great" in Arabic.

“All of us guys were looking at him like, are we going to have to do something?” Passenger Doug Oerding, Sacramento, said while waiting to reboard the plane.

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A female flight attendant finally calmed Shahsavari down, said Oerding.

Amarillo Aviation Director Patrick Rhodes said an emergency call was made to the control tower at Rick Husband around 3:30 p.m.

“He was being disruptive and unruly on the flight, but he was not specifically trying to break into the cockpit,” Rhodes said.

Shahsavari was arrested without incident when the plane reached the gate at the airport, said Amarillo police Cpl. Jerry Neufeld.

“He was waiting at the door when we went in,” Neufeld said. “He cooperated with officers.”

FBI Special Agent Mark White said the act didn't appear to be an act of terrorism. He also said Shahsavari was a U.S. citizen who could have had an episode of mental illness.

“It sounded like he sort of lost control of himself,” White said.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sarah Horowitz said investigators are in the process of collecting information on the incident.

A Southwest spokesman said none of the 136 passengers and five crew members on the flight were harmed.

Shahsavari is being charged with interference.

 

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