Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Passenger helps subdue naked man on Alaska flight


A passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska, looked up from his audio book to see a naked man yelling and heading toward the cockpit.

“I thought it was some kind of attack,” Nick Steffl said.

When the naked man reversed course on Monday night and ran to the rear of the jet, Steffl confronted him. Another passenger helped restrain the man and the jet landed safely about 45 minutes later.

The man was transported to an Anchorage hospital.

Steffl, 30, was on his way to Alaska for a summer tourism job. He said on Tuesday that the incident in retrospect had elements of humor, but was not funny in the sky.

The man was assigned a seat two rows ahead of Steffl near the back of the jet. Steffl noticed the man watching a movie he’d seen, The Disaster Artist, which contains a prominent scene with actor James Franco naked.

Steffl did not see the man remove his clothes, but looked up to see him 15 rows ahead, running.

“I heard him whooping and hollering like he was having a good time: ‘Woo-hoo,’” Steffl said.

Steffl weighs about 84kg. He guessed the naked man was about 22 years old and only about 63.5kg. Steffl unbuckled his seat belt and stood in front of him.

“He said: ‘Hey man, what’s going on?’” Steffl said. “And my adrenalin is just pumping. I’m in flight response, after a guy’s running toward the cockpit after a post 9/11 flight. I was almost raging at that point.”

In a profanity-laced question, Steffl asked the man what he was doing. The man replied with a “smartass” response.

“I was the one that got violent,” Steffl said. “I slapped him across the face and he was like: ‘Oh, I like it.’”

Within seconds, another passenger, possibly the young man’s father, pinned his arms behind him and escorted him to the crew work area, Steffl said.

Flight attendants swarmed in and may have restrained him.

Out of sight, the man shouted out crazy things the rest of the flight, Steffl said.

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