Passenger barges into jet's cockpit

Tuesday, October 9, 2001

CHICAGO -- Two military fighter planes escorted an American Airlines jetliner to Chicago on Monday after a passenger described as being mentally ill barged into the plane's cockpit.

The 30-year-old man traveling with his father was subdued by two pilots and several passengers aboard Flight 1238 from Los Angeles, FBI spokesman Ross Rice said.

No one was injured, and the plane landed safely. At the airport, passengers told reporters the man said he feared they were going to crash into the Chicago Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building.

"This man had some sort of mental problem. He is on medication and under a doctor's treatment," Rice said. "This is not a terrorist incident and was not related in any way to the attacks on Sept. 11."

Last week, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta ordered all airlines to strengthen cockpit doors within 90 days.

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