Saturday, May 25, 2013
PORTLAND — A commercial flight that originated in Portland on Thursday made an emergency landing at Boston’s Logan International Airport after a passenger tried to open the plane’s cabin door during the flight.
A member of the flight crew on U.S., Airways commuter jet, tail number N434AW, completes a walk-around of the aircraft at Logan International Airport in Boston, yesterday. A man has been arrested in Boston after allegedly trying to open a cabin door of the jet flying from Maine to Philadelphia.
Massachusetts State Police and Michelle Mohr, spokeswoman for US Airways, said the man tried to open the cabin door at the front of the plane, near the cockpit.
The cabin door is used for boarding and unloading passengers. Some media outlets said the man tried to open the door to the pilot’s cockpit. Mohr said that was incorrect.
“The passenger really seemed to be disoriented,” Mohr said.
Massachusetts State Police boarded US Airways Express Flight 3801, which was bound for Philadelphia, after it landed in Boston around 4:30 p.m. and removed the man.
State police spokesman David Procopio said Michael Ensalaco, 40, of Mooresville, N.C., was charged with interfering with a flight crew. Ensalaco was being interviewed late Thursday night by state police and Transportation Safety Administration officials.
“At this time there does not appear to be any nexus to terrorism and the suspect may be arraigned Friday in the East Boston District Court,” Procopio said in a prepared statement.
Procopio said medical privacy laws prevent the state police from discussing or confirming whether Ensalaco had any medical condition that might have caused his behavior.
New England Cable News, which interviewed several passengers at the airport in Boston, quoted one as saying Ensalaco might have confused the cabin door for the plane’s bathroom door.
“We think he confused it for the bathroom door because he peed his pants,” said Lauren Moore.
Mohr said she was not certain about that plane, but there could be a bathroom near the cabin door.
Ensalaco’s mother told WBZ-TV in Boston that the incident is “totally out of character” for her son. She said he is married and has five children, including 11-year-old triplets. Ensalaco has taken medication for seizures in the past and his colon was removed a year ago, WBZ reported.
Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport, said Air Wisconsin Flight 3801 took off from the jetport around 3:30 p.m. with 50 passengers, one flight attendant and two pilots on board. Air Wisconsin operates commercial jets for US Airways.
Mohr said several passengers and a male flight attendant responded when they saw Ensalaco try to open the cabin door. She said the flight attendant had to physically move Ensalaco away from the door.
Mohr said the passengers were in no danger because the door was pressurized and could not be opened.
But, as Bradbury pointed out, “If you are a passenger and you see someone messing with the door, you’d take action.”
At least one passenger helped the flight attendant move Ensalaco to the rear of the passenger compartment, where the passenger kept on eye on him until the plane landed, Mohr said.
Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Administration, said US Airways Flight 3801 left Boston for Philadelphia just after 6 p.m. Thursday.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: