Man tries to open emergency door while plane is still in flight

PORTLAND, Ore. - Man tries to open emergency door while plane is still in flight

Early Monday morning, a passenger aboard an Alaskan Air flight from Anchorage to Portland attempted to open an emergency door while the plane was in still flight.

24-year-old Alexander Herrera was arrested once the plane landed in Portland. He faces one count of interfering with a flight crew.
Passenger and Spokane native Ryan Oelrich was on board that flight and witnessed the event go down.

"I was asleep, I guess we were pretty close to Portland I awoke to a lot of hissing and lots of passengers were screaming and yelling," Oelrich said.

His first thought was that the plane was going down.

"As I looked around somebody was screaming 'stop, him take him down' and I looked back behind me and in the exit row there was a large man that was trying to open the exit row door," he said.

Oelrich has noticed Herrera, a 24-year-old Arizona man, as someone to keep an eye on.

"He was a fella that in a lineup you probably would pick out and say yeah that's going to be the trouble maker," Oelrich said.

Even before the incident, Herrera looked disheveled and somewhat disturbed.

"I don't know what his story was but he was trying very hard to get out of that plane," he said.

Things happened very quickly and a handful of brave passengers saved the day.

"A woman that was there some gentlemen that just jumped on him dragged him away pinned him to the floor," Oelrich said.

The plane landed in Portland around 5:30 Monday morning. Oelrich, very shaken, caught his connecting flight home back to Spokane. But not before making a last minute change...

"On my flight back from Portland to Spokane I specifically asked for the exit row seat," he said. "As silly as that was because I figured at least I can control on this flight that that door will not open unless it absolutely has to."