Adam P. Bradshaw, new news director at ktvx (tv) Salt Lake City, was witness to that bizarre incident on a Southwest flight last week in which a 19-year-old man went berserk, tried to crash the cockpit and then had a fatal heart attack while being restrained.
Bradshaw, who is in the process of moving from Los Angeles, where he'd worked at KCOP-TV, had noticed the young man's odd behavior as the man paced the plane, took someone else's drink from an attendant's tray, and lifted a pack of peanuts from the galley.
Bradshaw says he discussed the behavior with an off-duty policeman sitting behind him, and they agreed there was something wrong.
"His eyes looked like there was a ping-pong game going on there," Bradshaw notes.
When the young man bolted toward the cockpit, it took several men to tear him away from the door and restrain him. There were further outbursts: He was like a tornado until he appeared to pass out, probably having his heart attack, Bradshaw says.
"I looked at him as I got off the plane," and "I knew he was dead," Bradshaw adds.
Bradshaw had tried to call in the story to his newsroom, but the air phones on the new jet were not working. When he got to Salt Lake, he got a crew out quickly, and other passengers were interviewed.
Area news outlets were awaiting the autopsy report last week for clues to the young man's behavior.