LOS ANGELES – An elderly man on board an American Airlines flight from Texas to Los Angeles was restrained by passengers, including television's "Dr. 90210," after he got out of his seat minutes before the plane was to land Monday and shoved a flight attendant, an airport spokeswoman reported.
The jetliner landed safely and police took the 80-year-old man, who did not speak English, to a hospital for a 72-hour mental observation, said Los Angeles International Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
"He evidently started to panic about 15 minutes before landing, when everyone is supposed to be buckled into seats," Castles said.
None of the five crew members or 122 passengers aboard the MD-80 airplane reported any injuries and the plane landed as scheduled shortly after 7 p.m., said American Airlines spokesman Billy Sanez.
Passengers seated in the first-class section, including Dr. Robert Rey and a producer for the syndicated entertainment television show "The Insider," said the man was believed to be a Vietnamese national.
The man hopped out of his seat in coach and marched into first class, Sanez said.
Rey, a plastic surgeon who practices martial arts, told The Associated Press he got out of his seat and intervened when he heard the man make a "big noise" as he pushed a female flight attendant toward the cockpit.
"When you get a black belt, at that stage your brain just clicks into action," the doctor said. "I restrained this gentleman in a very aggressive way without hurting him. I did what's called a full nelson [tactic] and was able to control him into the seat."
Another passenger helped as the man kicked and screamed, Rey said.
"As I was struggling with him, I was also examining him," Rey said, adding that by checking the man's vital signs he was able to determine he was not having a medical emergency.
The flight attendant "was shook up but not hurt," Rey said.
Flight crew members described the man as "very frail," Sanez said. He had been scheduled to board a connecting flight in Singapore after landing in Los Angeles.
Rey, who stars on the E! Network reality show "Dr. 90210," about a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, was returning home after taping a segment for "The Insider."
Rey also appears as himself on a Carl's Jr. commercial in which he advises a chicken to undergo breast augmentation surgery.