United Airlines Passenger Attempts To Storm Cockpit

A frightening incident happened onboard a United Express flight from Washington Dulles to Newark International. On January 9th, a man allegedly stormed the aircraft’s cockpit, attacked a flight attendant and injured six police officers.

United Express E145
The United Express flight was being operated by CommutAir. Photo: United Airlines. Photo: Adam Moreira via Wikimedia Commons

Frightening incident

NBC New York reports that a passenger named Matthew Dingley started to become unhinged just as flight UA4965 was about to land. He soon got out of his seat and charged towards the Embraer E145’s cockpit.

Mike Egbert was sitting in the second row on this flight and witnessed the situation unfold.

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“This guy was in a full sprint, right up to the cockpit, hits the cockpit, starts banging on it,”

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Thereafter, a flight attendant tried to stop the passenger from disrupting the flight. However, Egbert shared that the employee was beaten by the much larger man.

“[She was] a slight woman, petite, and this guy was clocking her,” the eyewitness said.

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United Airlines Fleet
A United flight attendant attempted to stop the passenger from banging on the door of the cockpit but she was then attacked. Photo: Getty

Briefly under control

While the woman was being attacked, Egbert intervened, along with others on the flight. One of the people that stepped in thankfully had experience in law enforcement. Therefore, the situation was brought under control, for a moment.

Law enforcement officers waited for Dingley at Newark. Once he left the plane after landing, he then stormed at the officers on the ground outside the airport’s Terminal C. Port Authority Police shared that one of the officers fell down the aircraft’s stairs. Subsequently, the officer has suffered from four broken ribs due to the attack.

Egbert then stated that the rampager picked up and threw another officer. Ultimately, knowing what the unhinged passenger was capable of, Egbert is glad that he didn’t get into the cockpit.

United Express E145
The United Express passengers would have been in a panic while the unpredictable situation unfolded. Photo: Maarten Visser via Flickr

The rage continues

Altogether, six officers were injured in the incident. However, they are all expected to recover. The flight attendant that was attacked was taken to a hospital to receive care for her injuries. She has now been released from care, and has been called a hero by Egbert after witnessing her attempt at calming the situation down.

This isn’t the first time that Dingley has been in trouble for his erratic behavior. The 28-year old was arrested four years ago following a police chase in North Carolina.

He was also found guilty of driving while intoxicated In New York in 2017. Dingley now faces a range of charges, including assault and resisting arrest. 

We wish all of those hurt in the incident a speedy recovery.

Simple Flying reached out to United Airlines for comment on the incident but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further comment.

What are your thoughts on this mid-flight incident? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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Richard Johnson

People are already uneasy in a plane even frequent fliers like me and something like this happens. There are no excuses for this behavior. He should be banned for life from flying on any plane in the world. Let’s just hope this didn’t scare anyone from flying again that witnessed this.

TonytTDK

Is it possible for an individual to “storm” anything.?
Surely, the concept of ‘storming’ any kind of ‘position’, involves the aspect of overwhelming by strength of numbers.?

Xiansen

See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/storm . The usage herein seems to match up.

Gerry S

This guy just about overwhelmed six NY/NJ cops Richard. Storming is not an overstatement

Paul L.

Have you seen cops at Tri-State airports? They don’t pick the scrawny ones. So he probably got “served” well by those six that met him at the gate…..

That said, i’m wondering why other passengers took so long to intervene? I would have went Korean Zombie on the guy and gone for all of the soft spots lol.

Anonymous

I’m glad that they got him “calmed down” and didn’t make him go in the Flight Deck as that would cause this situation to get a lot worse. My question is what caused him to do this? But anyways I hope a good recovery to all the people that were hurt.

Gerry S

@Paul L. Wonder if they asked him to "watch his head" as they transported him away.