There were three bizarre incidents in the skies over America on Mother’s Day. One involved a suspicious note found in the lavatory of a Delta flight from Detroit to San Diego. The note had the word “bomb” in it. The plane was diverted to Albuquerque and landed without incident. Both the plane and passengers were checked and found to be clear of explosives.
The second, and much more frightening, incident involved a deranged passenger on a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago. According to a fellow passenger interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, this fellow said he “had a rough Mother’s Day,” and decided to relax by opening the main boarding door and jumping out of the plane. He was “quickly subdued by others on board,” and the plane was diverted to a safe landing in St. Louis.
We’re just starting to get details about the third bit of airborne excitement on Mother’s Day, in which a man with a Yemeni passport in his pocket rushed the cabin door of an American Airlines plane on approach to San Francisco.
According to the Associated Press, 28-year-old Rageit al Murisi was “yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant about 10 minutes before American Airlines Flight 1561 was due at San Francisco International Airport Sunday night.” He started banging on the cockpit door, and was tackled by a male flight attendant. Several passengers joined in the process of subduing him with plastic handcuffs. Murisi is said to have “sustained some bruises” during the struggle.
The authorities have not yet conclusively determined if Murisi is a Yemeni citizen, but he was carrying a passport from that country. Perhaps coincidentally, a Yemeni man named Hezem al-Murisi (a similar regional surname that does not necessarily imply a family relationship) was arrested in Amsterdam back in August 2010 for carrying out what appeared to be a “dry run” for a terrorist attack. This earlier al-Murisi and an accomplice waltzed through TSA security in Chicago with knives, box cutters, and a dummy “bomb” made from a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle in their checked luggage, after throwing a “red flag” by making a last-minute change of destination from Dubai to Yemen.
Hopefully the authorities will be able to translate some of that “unintelligible yelling.” Perhaps Murisi was just shouting “I’M HAVING A ROUGH MOTHER’S DAY!” in the Mehri dialect common to Yemen.