Passengers were terrified when a man suddenly leaped out of his seat and began screaming that this is a “terrorist attack” and that he was going to take down the plane. However, his plot was quickly interrupted when he realized that he was sitting just a few rows away from his worst nightmare — a retired counter-terrorism officer.
While traveling from India to Britain, Gulf Air passengers and crew encountered a terrifying situation when a man unexpectedly stood up and began shouting about taking over the plane in the name of Islam. Unfortunately for him, he had no idea Chris Phillips was sitting nearby.
Anyone who’s traveled by plane is well-aware of the infinite problems that could go wrong mid-flight. Aside from the typical technical malfunctions, weather issues, or even pilot error, recent terror attacks involving aircraft have given passengers a whole new concern when boarding their flights.
The Sun reports that 51-year-old Saudi Arabian-born Hafhel Mohammed Al Humayed left his seat on Flight 007 and attempted to force his way to the front of the plane. The passenger became instantly belligerent, cursing and shouting that he was going to carry out a terror attack on the plane.
Passengers remained in their seats and recorded the incident, helplessly watching as frightened flight attendants unsuccessfully tried to stop Al Humayed from making his way to the cockpit. What the hostile passenger didn’t realize was that his worst nightmare was only a few feet away.
Just a few rows from Al Humayed was London native Chris Phillips, who is the former Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office. Instinctively, the ex-counter-terrorism officer sprang into action, doing exactly what he had been trained to do in his 30 years of service as a police officer.
Like a regular James Bond, 55-year-old Phillips tackled Al Humayed, restraining the determined terrorist and forcing him to sit back down in his seat as shocked passenger and crew members looked on.
Chris said: “It was chaos. The Muslim passenger was trying to walk to the First Class section of the plane. He was shouting obscenities and it was a frightening scene. He was fighting with a male member of cabin crew. They were rolling on the floor then slamming against the aircraft door. It was terrifying to watch them roll into the aircraft exit at 30,000ft. Women and children were screaming. It was very upsetting.”
As terrifying as the situation was, Phillips never showed the slightest bit of worry. Fortunately, his action inspired another passenger, who just happened to be a U.S. soldier making his way to London’s Heathrow Airport.
Although the pair seemingly had Al Humayed in a calm state, he suddenly broke free and once again headed for the front of the plane. As horrified bystanders gasped and cried out in fear, Phillips once again pursued the dangerous man, grabbing Al Humayed and placing him in an arm lock. With this, crew members were able to place the belligerent passenger in handcuffs and secure him to a seat.
Phillips graciously spent the next six hours sitting next to Al Humayed, ensuring that he wouldn’t escape again. It was then that the retired officer heard about how the hopeful terrorist wanted to help create an Islamic state in Britain.
Chris, who served for six years as head of NaCTSO until 2011, said: “It was a bit scary. He was bragging how the UK would be a Muslim country soon. He said the British don’t breed enough. He boasted how Muslims have 15 children each. It was a long six hours. I eventually got him calm and he nodded off. Then two hours in he was awake and ranting again. Passengers nearby were terrified with good reason.”
Phillips was rewarded by grateful Gulf Air employees with champagne and wine. He has since been hailed as a hero and proverbial James Bond of the aptly named Flight 007. However, Phillips has retired once again from taking on terrorists, now running a consultancy firm and training police officers and military members in counter-terrorism.
Since the incident, Hafhel Mohammed Al Humayed confessed to one count of being drunk on a plane and one count of common assault. He was not charged with any instance of terrorism. The outcome of his trial is unclear.
Hopefully, Britain keeps a close eye on Al Humayed, as he never got to carry out his intended takeover. Sadly, it’s most likely that he’ll be lost in the system, as thousands of terrorism suspects have evaded British surveillance and are currently on the loose.