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Chicago-To-Germany Flight Diverted Because Of Unruly Passenger

Updated 7/9/11 6:12 p.m.

CHICAGO (WBBM)  -- A special flight to Frankfurt, Germany, is finally in the air Saturday, a day after it was supposed to leave Chicago.

Some Chicagoans have quite a story to tell about the flight from O'Hare to Frankfort that was diverted Friday to Cleveland when a passenger was found hiding in the bathroom and went ballistic when he was confronted.

Joe Shulfer of Woodstock had his noise-cancelling headphones on and was sitting by himself on United Airlines Flight 944.

"The flight attendant just ran up to me and literally grabbed me by the shirt and said, 'You need to come with me now,'" the passenger told Newsradio 780.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mike Krauser Reports


They came upon three men wrestling with another passenger who, Shulfer learned, had been in the restroom for 20 or 30 minutes and wouldn't come out.

They handcuffed the suspicious passenger and tied up his feet, but he started spitting and swearing, Shulfer says.

"So we duct-taped his mouth shut," he says. "He was able to get that off himself. He almost choked himself by swallowing the duct tape."

Then they secured a surgical mask over his face "just to get him to kind of shut up and stop spitting all over everybody."

Shulfer says he heard from United that the man had a boarding pass but wasn't on the passenger list.

Bomb sniffing dogs were brought in but turned up nothing unusual. The plane was eventually allowed to fly back to Chicago. So far, officials have said nothing about charges. CBS 2 blurred out the suspect's face because he has not been charged.

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