A 32-year-old woman from Poland was arrested Tuesday after police said she disrupted a British Airways flight from London to Boston’s Logan Airport.
Kamila Dolniak was taken into custody by the Massachusetts State Police and charged with interfering with a flight crew, New England Cable News reports.
The flight was British Airways Flight 213, a Boeing 777 from Heathrow to Boston. It left for Boston just after 7 a.m. London time.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dolniak Is Accused of Trying to Open a Cabin Door During the Flight
Dolniak attempted to open an exit door in the plane’s cabin while it was still in the air, the Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter.
“At first impression I thought she was having a panic attack, they gave her three seats to lie down on and then all of a sudden she started to become really not responsive to calming down,” a passenger seated near Dolniak told CBS Boston. “She was kicking, she was stretching out her arms, so they had to tie her down, they had to get handcuffs and they had to put handcuffs on her feet as well.”
The flight crew called for police to meet the plane at Logan International Airport after restraining Dolniak. Troopers entered the plane and took Dolniak into custody.
She remains at the State Police barracks at the airport, and would be remanded to Customs and Border Protection custody if she posts bail, the Boston Globe reports. She is set to be arraigned Wednesday in East Boston District Court. She could also face federal charges.
“The investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident is ongoing by Troop F of the Massachusetts State Police, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Customs, and the TSA,” police said in a statement.
2. Police Say Dolniak Was Drunk & the Incident Is Not Believed to be Connected to Terrorism
Police say Dolniak’s drunkenness was likely the cause of the incident.
“The incident was a case of intoxication, and was not related to terrorism,” David Procopio, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman, said in a statement to the Boston Globe. “There is no known nexus to terrorism at this point.”
Bill Dee, a former American Airlines pilot, told FOX25 in Boston a person is likely not strong enough to open an exit door mid-flight.
“That’s a lot of pressure. And with the fact that they’re pluck-tight doors, you’d have to pull the door in a little bit so the hinges could do that little twist and then you’d have to get the door out. So I think its next to impossible,” Dee told the news station.
Anthony Amore, a security expert, told the news station the Massachusetts State Police have dealt with problems like this often.
“The Massachusetts State Police at Logan are very, very experienced in this sort of thing. I can’t think of any other group of law enforcement I’d rather have responding to it. They will deal with this person severely, they know exactly what to do and how to handle it,” he told FOX25.
3. The Incident Attracted Attention in the Wake of the Paris Terror Attacks
The incident attracted worldwide media attention in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. ISIS terrorists killed 129 people and wounded more than 300 in coordinated attacks on several locations in the French city on Friday, November 13.
“With the stuff going on, It was a bit scary,” passenger Joe Burgyone told the Boston Globe. “Your heart starts racing. … Lots of people thought the worst.”
David Hallett told the newspaper about five or six officers entered the plane.
“We were all looking around curiously to see what happened,” he told the Globe. “We did wonder if it was related to [the Paris attacks]. It was a little bit [unnerving] because you didn’t know what was going on.”
Another passenger, Olivier de Weck, told the newspaper, “We really didn’t know about it until we were at the gate. As soon as we were at the gate, they asked us to stay seated. It took about five minutes. To us, it wasn’t a big deal.”
4. Early Reports That She Tried to Enter the Cockpit Door Were False
Initial reports, including from the State Police, that Dolniak attempted to gain access to the cockpit turned out to be false.
Passengers told the Boston Globe that she was at the rear of the plane and said she wanted to smoke.
“She tried to open the door,” passenger Charles Hinton told the Globe. “She wasn’t violent. She wasn’t screaming.”
Passengers said it took about four members of the crew 30 minutes to calm Dolniak down.
5. British Airways Says They ‘Do Not Tolerate Abusive Behavior’
British Airways issued a statement after the incident that there was an “unruly customer” on board the flight.
“Our customers and crew deserve to have a safe and enjoyable flight and we do not tolerate abusive behavior,” the airline said in its statement.
The FAA said in a statement to Fox News, “A passenger on British Airways Flight 213, a 777 en route from Heathrow to Boston, tried to open an exit door and has been restrained. The cockpit is secure and the flight is continuing to Boston.”
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