Gene Parente took one have a look at the person — with a plastic bag on his head, pounding on the door of the cockpit — and he knew the Korean Air flight attendants had been in hassle.
The man was concerning the dimension of Parente, 6 toes tall and 190 kilos. The flight attendants – 4 or 5 of them – had been all a couple of foot shorter and 100 kilos lighter.
So Parente stepped up when one of many younger ladies pleaded: “Sir, please, I want your assist. It’s an emergency.”
The decision got here early within the remaining leg of a Seoul-to-Seattle jaunt Thursday, a chaotic scene – the passenger, screaming on the high of his lungs, attempting to get to the airplane’s controls.
“That was my worst post-9/11 worry,” Parente advised The Submit on Saturday, again dwelling in San Diego. “I went into full-panic mode.”
The person screamed – alternating between English and Korean — that he had a bomb and needed to go to Vancouver, BC, as a result of he had by no means been there earlier than, in keeping with court docket paperwork.
Each Parente and the person had been in enterprise class. Parente was groggy, simply popping out of a protracted nap, when he heard the commotion, then the phrases of the determined flight attendant.
The man pushed Parente they usually began buying and selling punches.
Then, a chase down the aisle and again up once more – the passenger, the flight attendants, Parente and two pilots, alongside for the journey, who thought Parente was the troublemaker.
“It was simply bedlam,” stated Parente, 54.
The 2 pilots separated the duking duo. Then, they realized what was actually going on.
However what really terrified Parente was when the person advised him “I gained’t discuss to anybody however you.”
At that second, Parente appeared into his eyes and thought “One thing wasn’t proper with this man and I spotted he had nothing to lose.”
Parente led him again to his seat, however he bolted once more simply as the 2 had been sitting down.
The person knocked down one flight attendant and one other pulled out a Taser, sending sparks flying.
Parente jumped on the person, wrestling him to the ground. The 2 pilots piled on.
“He was like a wild animal,” Parente advised The Submit.
The trio put big zip ties on the man and sat on him for about 40 minutes, till the airplane landed.
About three dozen regulation enforcement officers – from the airport police pressure, customs, Homeland Safety and the FBI had been there to greet the person when he stepped on the bottom in Seattle.
Now, the passenger, recognized as Gyeong Jei Lee, a Korean native who now lives in Colorado, is going through federal fees of interference with a flight crew and assault on an plane.
Parente made it clear that he wasn’t the one courageous soul on that flight.
“The flight attendants and the 2 Korean air captains acted heroically as properly,” he stated.