A British Airways flight en-route to Saudi Arabia witnessed a bizarre incident on Monday; a first a cabin crew member had ever seen.
A man attempted to open the door of the plane while it was mid-air, leaving other passengers traumatized. The incident took place on BA flight 263 an hour before it was scheduled to land in Riyadh, according to The Guardian.
Hours into the flight, the man, who is said to have suffered a panic attack, started trying to pull the lever on the door at the back of the plane. Screaming "I want to get out" in broken English, he created a commotion on the aircraft, alerting several other passengers that something was wrong.
A traveler nearby quickly noticed what was happening and tried to intervene. He was assisted by none other than Dean Whyte, the brother of boxer Dillian Whyte, and other members of the fighter's entourage.
Let's just say it was a lucky day to have fighters on board because they all quickly rushed down the aisle along with an air steward to restrain the man. Whyte managed to hold him in a bearhug and pull him away from the door as more flight crew rushed to restrain him with handcuffs. It took a few minutes to calm the passenger down and get him back to his seat.
By then, shaken up passengers were all ready to get off the plane. Speaking to The Guardian, Whyte said the entire incident was simply surreal.
"It was like something out of a movie. When I got there he was shouting 'I want to get out' in broken English. I managed to grab him and was preparing to slam him hard if necessary but myself and the steward could see he wasn't quite right in the head so I held him and tried to calm him down. Eventually it worked," he explained.
A passenger of the flight also gave a statement, praising Whyte's efforts and saying people were relieved when they saw him rushing to help. Another person who was on board explained how the terrifying incident left him "frozen in panic."
"I thought that was it. Everyone who intervened were heroes," the latter added.
Whyte was traveling to Saudi Arabia to support his brother as he attempts to battle "undercard of the Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua heavyweight title fight on Saturday." Joshua's mother was also a passenger on the flight along with several members of staff for Matchroom Sport, who are promoting the event that's set to be held in Riyadh's Diriyah on Dec. 7.
Over 5,000 British fans have already bought their tickets to the match, which means UK flights to Riyadh are expected to be fully packed over the next few days.
British Airways has reported the incident to authorities
A BA flight attendant said the incident was immediately reported to the authorities. He added that he'd never seen anything like this in his years of service.
In the wake of the incident, the airline issued a statement stressing that "it was impossible for an aircraft door to open in flight."
"Our cabin crew cared for a customer who suffered from a panic attack during the flight. We are sorry for any concern this caused our customers," a spokesperson for the company added.