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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 09 May 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A man who pounded on the cockpit door as an American Airlines flight from Chicago approached San Francisco on Sunday evening has no clear or known ties to terrorism, police said on Monday.

Authorities have not established a possible motive for why Rageit Almurisi, 28, got up from his seat and went toward the cockpit door 10 minutes before the flight was supposed to land, San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said.

But Rodriguez told the San Francisco Chronicle that Almurisi had no clear connection to terrorism.

Almurisi, who had a Yemeni passport, was yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant, Rodriguez said.

A male flight attendant tackled him, and other crew members and two passengers - a retired Secret Service agent and a retired San Mateo police officer - aided as he banged on the cockpit door, Rodriguez said.

"They were able to get him to ground and a flight attendant put him in plastic handcuffs," Rodriguez told The Associated Press.

The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10 p.m. and the man was taken into police custody. The flight came from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, authorities said.

Though he carried a Yemeni passport, it wasn't clear if Almurisi's nationality was also Yemeni, Rodriguez said.

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, a federal offense.

During the scuffle, Almurisi sustained some bruises and was checked at a hospital before being transported to San Mateo County Jail, the officer said.

No one else on the plane was hurt and the airport continued operating normally with security levels unchanged, the officer said.

It was the third disturbance of the day in U.S. airspace.

A Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago diverted in St. Louis after a 34-year-old man from Illinois tried to open a plane door during the flight, officials said.

Continental spokeswoman Julie King said Flight No. 546 landed around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and was grounded about an hour before resuming it journey.

FBI and airport police questioned the passenger. No charges have been filed.

Shortly before that, a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to San Diego was landed instead in Albuquerque, N.M., because of a security scare, but authorities found "no suspicious devices" on the plane, an FBI spokesman said.

Agency spokesman Frank Fisher declined to clarify the nature of the "potential security threat" that caused Flight 1706 to land in New Mexico. He said agents searched the plane and interviewed the crew and 107 passengers before clearing the aircraft to fly again.

Albuquerque International Sunport spokesman Daniel Jiron also declined to say what the potential threat was. No one was arrested.

The flight was diverted at 10 a.m. MDT Sunday, and Jiron said it was cleared to fly again around 12:30 p.m.

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