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Man recalls restraining passenger who tried to open door on Tel Aviv-London flight

Victor Tropolini says he put man in headlock before other travelers and crew members tied him up, ahead of emergency landing in Serbia: ‘It was a very scary situation’

A passenger on a flight from Israel to the United Kingdom last week recalled tackling a fellow traveler who tried to open the aircraft door and attacked the crew, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Serbia.

The incident last Monday occurred aboard a Wizz Air flight traveling from Ben Gurion Airport to London’s Luton Airport. After the emergency landing in Belgrade, the other passengers continued on to London after spending the night in the Serbian capital.

Victor Tropolini, a 45-year-old aircraft engineer, told the Sun tabloid he noticed the man behaving oddly, pacing up and down the aisle before attempting to open the emergency exit.

“I held him for 10 minutes, he got out of breath, he got tired, he was tied up for 45 minutes to 1 hour before we landed in Belgrade,” said Tropolini.

In video of the incident, Tropolini can be seen restraining the man in a headlock, before lowering him to the floor and helping hold him down as crew members zip-tied his hands. The man can be heard screaming, while a passenger yells at him to “shut up.”

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“It was a very scary situation,” said Tropolini, who said he’s originally from Albania and now lives in Switzerland. “I was lucky to catch that flight because I was in transit from Istanbul to Tel Aviv then I was coming back to the UK to see my mom.”

He added that he thought “I might never see my mother again” during the encounter at 30,000 feet in the air.

“The safety and security of passengers and crew are the company’s top priority. The company regrets the inconvenience caused by this unexpected incident,” Wizz Air said in a statement following the incident last week.

The unruly passenger has not been identified.