SAN FRANCISCO — The passengers sat stunned as they watched a man walk quickly toward the front of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it was descending toward San Francisco. He was screaming and then began pounding on the cockpit door.
"I kept saying to myself: 'What's he doing? Does he have a bomb? Is he armed?'" passenger Angelina Marty said..
Another shocked passenger, Andrew Wai, thought, "Could this be it? Are we going down?"
Within moments Sunday, a flight attendant tackled Rageh Almurisi. Authorities do not yet have a motive.
While Almurisi, 28, has no clear or known ties to terrorism, authorities say, the incident underscored fears that extremists may try to mount attacks to retaliate for the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last week.
Federal agents are investigating Almurisi's background. He was carrying a Yemeni passport and a California identification card, authorities said.