HONOLULU — Soon after they boarded a flight to Honolulu, Mark and Donna Basden found a laptop computer in a seat pocket in front of them.
The couple assumed someone on a previous flight left it there. But a flight attendant said it probably belonged to a man who was in the bathroom.
A man Donna Basden described as a “disheveled looking fellow” emerged and Mark Basden gave him the laptop.
Authorities say that moments later, the man — identified as Anil Uskanli, 25, of Turkey — had created so many problems on American Airlines Flight 31 Friday from Los Angeles to Honolulu that he had to be immobilized with duct tape in a seat until the plane landed in Honolulu. Uskanli was taken into custody after the plane, escorted by two fighter jets, landed.
As authorities investigated what happened yesterday, it was not clear whether Uskanli intended to harm anyone. He now faces a possible federal charge of interference with a flight crew, officials said.
Halfway through the six-hour flight, the Basdens saw the same man again holding his laptop with something over his head that they thought was a towel or a blanket. After he tried to approach the cabin, a flight attendant ran down the aisle with her serving cart and blocked the entrance, witnesses said.
He spent the rest of the flight restrained in a seat with duct tape.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was briefed on the midair disturbance, according to a statement from the department. There were no other reports of disruptions, but the department said it monitored all flights Friday as a precautionary measure.
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