AZ man arrested after airplane mishap has mental illness history - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

AZ man arrested after airplane mishap has mental illness history, dad says

Posted: Updated:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A Southern Arizona man is in jail tonight and is at the center of a federal investigation after some tense moments on a plane today.

Witnesses say that 23-year-old Alexander Herrera made several bizarre statements before trying to open the plane's emergency exit.

The flight was heading from Anchorage to Portland. Several passengers reported hearing a loud hissing noise and then commotion.

"I could see his face and he was very determined. He was trying to get that door open it looked like he was trying to get out."

"People next to him, they were yelling at him. The woman next to him said, 'Somebody, please help.'"

Several passengers jumped from their seats and tackled the suspect. Passengers tied him up with shoelaces and seat belts until the plane landed.

Officers arrested Herrera for interfering with a flight crew, a federal offense.

According to airline officials, the plane door never opened and the cabin wasn't depressurized. The plane was carrying 137 passengers.

We went to the home where Herrera used to live. It's a quiet neighborhood in Rio Rico.

Tonight, we're learning that he just recently moved from this home to Alaska.

According to his dad, the 23-year-old was upbeat and excited about his new job. However, he says his son does have a history of mental illness.

"About two or three years ago, he was diagnosed [as] bipolar," his dad said. "He was taking some medication but he did not like it, so he stopped the medication and was acting abnormal. He did not have any more manias and life was OK."

According to his father, Herrera had no plans to visit Portland. In fact, he had no idea why he was on that flight.

We also spoke to neighbors in the area, asking about what they knew about Herrera.

They said they didn't know much. A wave here and there but that's about it.

The neighbors we spoke to on camera wanted to remain anonymous.

"Well they just moved in about two years ago. They just keep to themselves. It's just scary because we live so close by and we don't know anything about them."

Herrera is expected to be in court tomorrow morning.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow