The first indication that something was amiss on Wizz Air Flight W9 4452 from Tel Aviv to London Monday was a hulking passenger who kept walking back and forth the entire length of the airplane, from the cockpit to the rear emergency exit and then back again. The plane’s engineer recalled: “I saw him going up and down, maybe looking for weak points on the aircraft… checking seat numbers… It was a very scary situation.”
It got a lot scarier. Repeatedly screaming “Allahu akbar,” the suspicious passenger punched a crew member and tried to open an emergency exit door, which could have led to the deaths of everyone on board. An alert passenger wrestled the man to the ground before he could do any damage, and the flight made an unscheduled but safe landing in Belgrade. Now officials are trying to figure out why, oh why, could this man have done such a thing. He told them, but they were not paying attention.
The New York Post reported Thursday that the passenger who saved the day was Victor Troboloni, “an Albanian who was on his way to visit his ailing mother in London.” Troboloni “grabbed the hulking, unidentified attacker and held him down with other passengers while crew members zip-tied him.” All the while he was mindful of the fact that he “might never see” his mother again.” Cellphone footage of the incident showed the attacker “screaming as Troboloni, 45, takes him to the floor.”
Troboloni explained: “He tried to open the fire exit, he was sitting at the back and it’s easy to open a fire exit, just pull the handle and that’s it. I got the guy down. He was very heavyweight… I headlocked him and the stewardesses tied his hands with plastic cable ties… I had to do it.” Then “fellow passengers helped Troboloni hold him down until a flight attendant could find cable ties to restrain him until the plane touched down in Eastern Europe.” Troboloni added: “I held him for 10 minutes, he got out of breath, he got tired, he was tied up for 45 minutes to 1 hour before we landed in Belgrade.”
The man who tried to open the fire exit gave one massive hint as to why he was causing so much trouble. The UK’s Sun reported that “Victor also claimed the attacker screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ repeatedly throughout the ordeal.” Nevertheless, the New York Post stated that “officials could not offer a motive for the attack or say whether the suspect was connected to any terror groups.”
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