Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Day in the Life of Gordon Montoya

You may or may not have seen the headlines coming out of Tampa today, but a man attempted to force his way into the cockpit of a Delta plane landing at Tampa International Airport. This made for an exciting day here at my house, mainly because my father-in-law was on the plane. In fact, he was on the second row of that plane. Gordon Montoya, my wife's father, was the first person on the plane to react to the situation. Here is how the St. Petersburg Times put it:

"Gordon Montoya, 52, of Brandon, was sitting in the second row in the first-class cabin and tackled the man after he raced by and grabbed the cockpit door.

It was like it wasn't real," Montoya said Friday. "Fortunately, my reaction was
pretty quick to grab him. I just got out of my seat, grabbed him and wrestled
him to the ground. It just happened. There was really not a lot of thought
process that went into it."

Montoya said he said four other passengers
restrained the man. He said there was never any chance the man would break into
the locked cockpit.

"They are heroes," airport executive director Louis
Miller said of the passengers. "In my mind, they are absolute heroes."

To add to that the Tampa Tribune wrote this:

The running man also startled first-class passengers Gordon Montoya, a Brandon
businessman, and Freitag. Freitag and his wife, Lorraine, had been bumped to
first class and were seated in the first row after missing a connecting flight
at LaGuardia.

"He hit that cockpit door, pounding on the door, trying to open it," Herb Freitag said.
Montoya said that without thinking, he rushed forward and grabbed the man's legs. "I tried to get him up off the ground so I could get him down," he said.

As the two wrestled, Freitag said, he grabbed at Laimendez as well. By this time, Montoya had pinned his legs, and Davisberg placed his foot on Laimendez's chest.
Here is the story from Bay News 9:

Passengers tackled a man who was rushing toward the cockpit as a flight
approached Tampa International Airport late Thursday...

Gordon Montoya, aboard Delta flight 1850 after a business trip to New
York, jumped from his seat and grabbed Liamendez. "I pushed him into the
galley against the exit door in the galley and got him down," Montoya said.
"That's when two or three others joined in and helped hold him on the ground."
Montoya and the others held Liamendez for about ten minutes until the
plane landed and authorities took over.

...Police said Gordon Montoya was the first passenger to jump Liamendez.
Montoya said he only did what his instincts told him to do. "I wouldn't call myself a hero,"

...Montoya said. "I just wanted to live and get home to my family."

This last one from the local CBS news is my favorite (you can find video here as well). This was written by Sara Dorsey:

Tampa, Florida - Gordon Montoya, a seasoned business traveler, says as his Delta flight was making its final approach into Tampa didn't have time to think let
alone be scared.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“This young man came just running down the isle past me. I was in row two and he was immediately on the cockpit door grabbing it and trying to open it.” Authorities say that man was 24-year-old Neftali Liamendez, a military policeman. His family told airport authorities Liamendez was acting irrationally after his duty in Iraq. Officials say they were told he was headed from New York to Tampa with his
brother to get mental treatment. Montoya says all he knew was he had to act.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“I tried to grab his legs and get him off the ground.” Montoya's quick moves resulted in bumps and bruises but were successful.

Gordon Montoya, Subdued Soldier:
“By the time I had him on the ground, there were four other passengers that really had us surrounded and holding him down.”

Louis Miller, Director of Tampa
International Airport
“They are all heroes in mind, they are absolute
heroes.” Louis Miller, Director of Tampa International Airport, says this
shows passengers are more savvy and the post 9-11 system is working.

Louis Miller, Director of Tampa International Airport:
“Thank goodness the door had been reinforced and he couldn't get in there.”
My father-in-law travels quite a bit (he has a platinum status with Delta if that tells you anything). This has been the fear of the family since 9-11 and we are thankful to God that He used Gordon restore peace and safety on the plane. Look for Gordon's name this weekend, he has done interviews with almost every single media outlet that you can think of. Also, remember he and the family in your prayers. Gordon has to get right back on a plane next week. Needless to say his wife and girls will be worried about him.

Here are several links to the story (also see above links):

Fox News


Blogger Tim Ellsworth said...

Wow. I saw the story yesterday, but I didn't know about Gordon's involvement. Wild stuff.

8/7/06 10:46 AM  

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