Home World American hero steps up when passenger has meltdown on Korean Air flight

American hero steps up when passenger has meltdown on Korean Air flight


The Korean Air flight attendants might have been small, but they were mighty in bringing down a violent passenger — with a little help from a 6-foot-tall American.

On the final leg of a Seoul-to-Seattle jaunt, a man in business class put a clear plastic bag over his head, pulled out a sharp hairpin and started screaming that he had a bomb and wanted to go to Vancouver, BC, because he had never been there before, the Seattle Times reported, citing court documents.

Then, the man darted around the cabin, still yelling in both English and Korean. The flight attendants pulled out Tasers, but couldn’t stop him. He charged the cockpit, pounding on the door and jerking on the handle.

During the commotion, Gene Parente leaped out of his seat to offer an assist. “It’s your worst post-9/11 nightmare,“ he told the outlet.

Parente and the man traded a few punches, then two reserve pilots showed up. “It was total madness,” he said.

The trio managed to wrestle the man — about the same size as Parente — to the floor. They put giant zip ties on the man and sat on him for about 45 minutes, until the plane landed.

FBI agents were there to greet the suspect — Gyeong Jei Lee, a Korean native who now lives in Colorado — when he stepped on the ground in Seattle. Now, he is facing federal charges of interference with a flight crew and assault on an aircraft.

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