AMMAN, Jordan, AP – A man aboard a Qatari Airways flight fought with flight attendants Thursday, prompting the pilot to return to Amman, but the incident was not a hijacking attempt, a government spokesman said.
Initial reports from airport security officials and a Qatari Airlines spokesman said the man, identified as an Eritrean, tried to force his way into the cockpit carrying a canister that the officials said contained a liquid.
But Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh told The Associated Press that it “was a quarrel and not a hijacking attempt” and that the liquid was medicine.
The man had tried to go to a bathroom 10 minutes after the flight took off from Amman for the Qatari capital, Doha, Judeh said.
When the attendants told the passenger he could not leave his seat yet, he pushed an attendant to the ground before others restrained him, Judeh said. The pilot returned the plane to Amman, where the man was detained.
Airport security officials confirmed the story, saying the man started screaming that he wanted to speak to the pilot to complain about the flight attendants for stopping him.
The incident came hours after Britain announced it had foiled a major terrorist plot to blow up airplanes headed to the United States from London’s Heathrow Airport. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terrorists planned to use liquid explosives disguised as beverages and other common products and set them off with detonators disguised as electronic devices.