Musician who helped take down suspect recounts airplane bomb scare
More details are emerging on the bomb threat and scuffle that happened aboard the Atlanta-to-LAX flight this morning. Apparently, the suspect who claimed that he had a bomb was tackled by a member of a hip-hop band from Atlanta, as well as half a dozen other passengers.
Chris Llewellyn, who plays bass and guitar in Asher Roth's band, said the incident unfolded as the plane carrying 230 passengers was making its final descent into LAX. Seated with his bandmates in row 43F, the guitarist heard a male flight attendant in the rear galley yell, "Help me, help me!"
"We were all sitting in our seats," Llewellyn said. "My boys had their headphones on. I turned around and got up and ran to the back of the plane."
He said six other passengers also ran to help.
"The suspect was yelling, 'Don't come near me, I have a bomb, I have a bomb!'" Llewellyn said. The suspect had his hands in his shirt. Cornered in the rear of the plane, the suspect lunged for the rear emergency exit door.
"We all jumped him," the guitarist said. "He was struggling hard-core. I was holding down his arm. Somebody had a foot on his head. Everyone was holding down a different body part. He was going nuts. I was telling him to chill because he's not going anyplace."
At that point, the plane was on the ground and a flight attendant had retrieved a restraining kit. From the ground the suspect asked, "What am I being charged with?"
Someone answered, "Assaulting a flight attendant."
"He flipped out over that," Llewellyn said. "Then they rolled him over and put the cuffs on him"
The band was flying to Los Angeles to perform on Carson Daly's late-night TV show.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Follow this link to read full coverage of the incident.
Photo: Inside the cabin of the plane following the altercation. Credit: Brian Cohen, Asher Roth keyboardist