LaTroy Hawkins saves the day by restraining irate passenger aboard flight to Chile

LaTroy Hawkins of the Mets reacts after getting

LaTroy Hawkins of the Mets reacts after getting out of a seventh-inning bases-loaded jam at Citi Field. (May 20, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

The Mets haven't played a game in a month, but that didn't stop fill-in closer LaTroy Hawkins from collecting another save.

This one came at 40,000 feet on American Airlines Flight 945, where Hawkins and two friends restrained an irate passenger who tussled with a flight attendant because he was upset with his seat assignment.

"I saw that this guy kept coming up to the front, but I didn't think anything of it," Hawkins told Newsday from Argentina, where he is on a dove-hunting trip.

According to Hawkins, he and his traveling party were 2 1/2 hours into a flight from Dallas to Santiago, Chile, early Monday morning when the passenger began a physical altercation with a flight attendant.

While sitting in business class, Hawkins wore noise-canceling headphones and watched a movie on his iPad, unaware of any trouble until it found him.

"They get to tussling and land in my lap," Hawkins said. "Knocked over my ice cream sundae, knocked over the wine, everything all over me. I jump up, we grab his arm, I had one arm in the air and my knee in his back trying to keep him down because he keeps trying to move."

Hawkins used zip ties to restrain the passenger's hands and feet. But sometime later, with most of the cabin asleep, Hawkins said the man got free from the restraints and caused another disturbance.

This time Hawkins' friends intervened first. Rodney Carter and Leonard Whittenberg subdued the passenger. Hawkins helped to again apply zip ties and tape. The second incident prompted a 4:16 a.m. emergency landing in Lima, Peru, where the troublesome passenger was taken into custody.

"We kept telling him, 'Dude, stop moving, you're not going to move, you're done,' " Hawkins said. " 'We gave you a chance to sit here by yourself and regroup and finish the flight to Argentina.' Then he acted a fool again and the captain made the decision to stop."

Hawkins, a pending free agent, initially disclosed the incident on social media.

According to American Airlines, Flight 945 was grounded for two hours before it proceeded to Santiago. Hawkins and his party missed a connecting flight to Argentina, which wiped out a day of their planned hunting trip.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Said Hawkins: "All we want from American Airlines is executive platinum for life."

Hawkins' tweet:

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