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Argentina Detains Man Subdued on Airliner - 2002-02-08

Argentine authorities are holding a 28-year-old Uruguayan banker who tried to forcibly enter the cockpit of a United Airlines flight bound from Miami to Buenos Aires. The man was subdued, and then detained after the plane landed in the Argentine capital.

The Uruguayan national is identified as 28-year-old Pablo Moreira, a banker who was subdued when he forcibly tried to break into the plane's cockpit.

Thursday's incident happened on United Airlines flight 855, which was on route from Miami to Buenos Aires. Eyewitnesses said about five hours into the flight, Mr. Moreira tried to open the cockpit door and began kicking it. They said a co-pilot using an ax, hit him on the head, and then other crew members and passengers quickly restrained him.

Argentine police arrested Mr. Moreira after the plane landed, and gave him medical treatment for what an Argentine Air Force spokesman characterized as minor injuries.

Passengers say the incident caused panic on board the flight. Some said Mr. Moreira appeared to be drunk.

Air Force spokesman Jorge Reta says authorities have not discounted reports the man was either drunk or under the influence of drugs.

United Airlines says the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, has been contacted and there are reports the Uruguayan banker will be flown back to the United States to face charges. A United Airlines statement says its flights to and from Argentina will continue as scheduled.