Wed, Dec 28, 2011
Led Effort To Subdue Passenger Trying to Break Into
A man who frightened passengers by attempting to break into the
cockpit of an AirTran flight on its way from Atlanta to Kansas City
was subdued by a fellow passenger, who is now being hailed widely
as a hero. Jabir Hazziez, Jr. is an unlikely candidate to be viewed
as a hero, especially on an airliner in 2011 - he's Muslim.
The Kansas City Star reports Hazziez is 10-year veteran of the
Kansas City Fire Department, and also has law enforcement training.
When he saw flight attendants struggling with a passenger who was
foaming at the mouth, he knew he had to step in and help. The man
turned out to have had a reaction to a vaccine. Hazziez said he was
definitely in "an altered mental state."
The firefighter says that he grabbed the man and tried to calm
him, to no avail. So he put the man in a neck restraint and pulled
him to the floor. Another passenger grabbed the man's feet to stop
his kicking, and the two held him for 15-20 minutes until the
flight, which had departed Atlanta, could make an emergency landing
The Star reports Hazziez's fellow passengers later gave him a
standing ovation. AirTran commented, "His background unquestionably
translated into resolving the situation safely."
Kansas City Fire Chief Smokey Dyer said of Hazziez, "He is an
outstanding firefighter. It was very characteristic of the
performance we see on a weekly and monthly basis."
The Midland Islamic Council has praised Hazziez for enhancing
the image of American Muslims, and exemplifying "the many valuable
and useful contributions they make to our nation."
Hazziez is aware of the post 9/11 stereotype of Muslims, and
that his actions may have played a part in promoting better
understanding. He says of his faith, "We are supposed to help those
in need and protect and help those who can’t help
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