“I am God! Tomorrow San Juan is going to disappear!,” the suspect, later identified as Carlos Ramírez, 30, allegedly shouted as he stormed down the plane’s aisle toward the cockpit. It happened shortly after Delta Flight 579 took off from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
“I came to save the world, and I’m going to end terrorism,” Ramírez also allegedly yelled before flight attendants and some passengers were able to overpower him.
“When he got to the middle of the plane the flight attendants tried to stop him,” Moraima Garcia Rohena, a passenger on the plane, told the New York Post of the incident. Three flight attendants told Ramírez to sit back down but he insisted “he was God and he was preventing a catastrophe on the plane,” she said.
Ramírez banged on the cockpit door but couldn’t open it, Garcia Rohena said. A rep for Delta Airlines confirmed that the cockpit door remained securely locked during the incident, Newsweek reported. The pilot returned to San Juan where Ramírez was taken into custody. The case has since been turned over to the FBI.
Approximately 160 passengers had to de-board the aircraft and wait at the gate before the flight could take off again for New York, Delta said. The flight arrived two hours later than originally expected at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newsweek reported.
“We were all pretty nervous,” another passenger, Estela Llanes, 20, told the Post. “Nobody knew what to do. Everybody was jumping up out of their seats trying to figure out what was going on.”
Other passengers said they were more angry than scared.
“I was about to beat up the guy myself,” said Jacob Colon, 24, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “He delayed our flight. He gets on the plane. He starts talking about Jesus this, the world was going to end and the plane was going to crash — just another fool.”