Archive for Monday, May 9, 2011

Lawrence native helps subdue unruly airline passenger

May 9, 2011


Bill Nieder, Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, Lawrence native and graduate of Kansas University, told the Journal-World on Monday that he was on the Sunday night flight from Chicago to San Francisco on which a man caused an uproar, screaming “God is Great!” in Arabic and pounding on the cockpit door.

Nieder said he helped to bring down the man, later identified as Rageh Almurisi of Vallejo, Calif., who spread terror on the flight.

“I was one of three guys who threw him down, but I’ve had problems with my hip, so I wasn’t one of the ones holding him down,” Nieder said. “Three guys were holding him down until the flight landed. He was well taken care of. I went back to my seat to sit down and his head was under my seat.”

Nieder, 77, and his wife, Sharon, were returning from a four-month cruise around the world on the “Love Boat” ship on which the television series was based. The Nieders were sitting in first class when Nieder said the man ran down the aisle screaming the words that passengers fluent in Arabic identified as “God is great!” and then began pounding on the cockpit door, at which point he was restrained.

Nieder said the incident took place 10-to-15 minutes before the American Airlines flight landed.

“My wife was scared and thought he might have had a gun or a bomb or something,” Nieder said. “I think she was more shook up after it was all over.”

Nieder said he and his wife, driven two-and-a-half hours to their Angels Camp, Calif., home by a friend who met them at the airport, did not stay around the airport to do media interviews about the incident.


Nathan Anderson 7 years ago

I don't think you need to be fluent in arabic to know Alahu Akbar translates to god is great. Juss sayin'.

KansasPerson 7 years ago

"He was well taken care of. I went back to my seat to sit down and his head was under my seat.”

(I think I must be sleepy because boy did that conjure up a whole different image than what was probably intended.)

equalaccessprivacy 7 years ago

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5thgeneration 7 years ago

I take it that you are a person who avoids a friendly wave or eye contact with your neighbors?

irussell 7 years ago

you apparently have never been on a flight when you have been threatened - lucky for you

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 7 years ago

I don't see any mention of bombs, knives or weapons in this article. Sounds like mental problems to me.

Tom McCune 7 years ago

The other passengers who took down Rageh included a retired Secret Service agent and a retired cop. One federal agent, one cop, and one Olympic gold medalist. Old Rageh is lucky he got off that plane with all appendages still attached.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

It is called recconoitering....Collecting info for future use. Just to see what they can get away with. Everyone needs to be vigilant. Kick their butt and let them know this wil not fly. (pun intended.)

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

The guy was recconoitering. Gathering info for future use. Just to see what they can get away with. We are still at war, they are still going to try and touch us. Just don't let anyone do this stuff, stay vigilant, and kick their butt when they try this stuff.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

sorry about the repeat. But it is worth reading twice. This is a tactic of war.

pace 7 years ago

Great job in helping handling the job, Me bad, i was impressed with the trip around the world and flying first class. What a dreamy trip. I hope, except for the incident you had fun.

Shane Garrett 7 years ago

Well, there was far more information in this story by the LJW than in any of the main stream media stories. Way to go LJW. And thanks to all those whom acted quickly.

Richard Payton 7 years ago

Was it the Love Boat TV series that the little guy actor would run and scream, "the plane, the plane?"

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