A Brazilian jiujitsu fighter was arrested this Wednesday, September 13, during a cross country flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. According to witnesses, Carlos Alberto de Oliveira, who wore military fatigues, was acting strangely and tried to open the airplane’s exit door.
United Airlines Flight 890, which had started in Japan, ended up safely in the Dulles International airport after Oliveira was subdued by air marshals with the help of some passengers who grabbed and punched him to submission.
According to one account, the Brazilian seemed quite agitated. After having spent about 20 minutes in the plane’s bathroom he came back to his seat, wrapped fighting belts around his hands and started to punch into the air. Soon after he motioned to an emergency exit door and threatened to open it.
Oliveira, 43, from Porto Alegre, capital of Brazil’s southernmost state, is not considered a terrorist but faces federal charges in the United States for interfering with the operation of an aircraft. The plane had 138 passengers and a crew of six.
Ken Wolfenberger, one of the passengers aboard, told in a telephone interview with Associated Press that he helped to subdue the passenger. The Brazilian was sporting jiujitsu championships medals on his shirt.
Still according to Wolfenberger, the flight attendant yelled for help and told the man as he tried to open the emergency door: "Sir, get your hand off the handle."
After the landing, Oliveira was taken by FBI agents to be interrogated. The Brazilian jiujitsu champion continued to act unruly after his arrest.
Authorities say he got involved in a fight inside the cell he was being kept and didn’t show up for a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday. He may have to answer now to added charges of assaulting the police.
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