A North Carolina man is facing charges after he allegedly tried to open the cabin door of a US Airways Express jet flying from Portland, Maine, to Philadelphia Thursday afternoon, forcing the airliner to make an emergency landing at Logan International Airport, State Police said.
State troopers met the plane on Logan’s tarmac and arrested Michael J. Ensalaco, 40, of Mooresville, N.C., David Procopio, State Police spokesman, said in a statement.
Ensalaco was subdued on the plane as it was in the air, said Phil Orlandella, a spokesman for Logan. A lone flight attendant on the plane stopped the man, a US Airways spokeswoman said.
“The flight attendant took care of the passenger and took him to another seat basically towards the back of the plane,” where another passenger helped watch Ensalaco, the spokeswoman, Michelle Mohr, said.
The captain then declared an emergency and diverted the flight to Boston, according to Procopio.
“The suspect is currently being interviewed by State Police and TSA [Transportation Security Administration] officials,” Procopio said Thursday evening. “He is currently charged with interfering with a flight crew.”
The episode does not appear to be connected to terrorism. Ensalaco may be arraigned Friday in East Boston District Court, Procopio said.
Flight 3801, which was operated for US Airways by Air Wisconsin, landed safely at Logan at 4:36 p.m. The Canadair CRJ-200 carried 50 passengers and three crew members, none of whom were injured, Air Wisconsin said.
The passenger “appears to have been disoriented,” said Andrew Christie, a spokesman for US Airways.
Aimee Downing, Ensalaco’s North Carolina neighbor who said she was acting as the family’s representative, said relatives believe he had a seizure on the flight. Downing said Ensalaco is prone to seizures, and his family is confident the charge will be dropped.
“We’re glad he’s doing well,” she said. “He just had a seizure, and we’re happy to hear he’s fine.”
Procopio said State Police would have no comment on whether Ensalaco had any medical conditions.
Christie said Thursday night that US Airways was canceling the flight and putting passengers on other planes to Philadelphia. No further information was available Thursday.