A man has been removed from a flight in the US for refusing to take off a gas mask after passengers began to panic, Texas media report.
The man was wearing the mask on an American Airlines flight bound for Houston from Dallas on Thursday.
Attendants asked him to remove the mask after passengers started complaining, but he refused. The flight was delayed by almost an hour.
The man was rebooked on the next flight and boarded without the mask.
“I looked up and saw a guy coming onto the plane wearing a full gas mask, which was kind of odd,” passenger Joseph Say told Houston ABC station KTRK.
“Immediately, people start talking in the back of the plane,” he said.
“You couldn’t see his face. You couldn’t identify any features on him. People were worried he had sneaked something on board and that he had the mask for his own safety.”
Mr Say said he initially thought the gas mask was related to the new coronavirus, which has killed 259 people in China.
“But then I noticed it didn’t have the filter, so that didn’t really make sense,” he added.
“What we heard from the lady sitting next to him was he said he wanted to make a statement. I don’t know what the statement was,” Mr Say said.
@AmericanAir , Just FYI flight 2212 to Houston was delayed an hour because you let this guy on the plane wearing a gas mask. This then panicked people on the plane and we had to wait for him to be escorted off. @abc13houston @KHOU @HoustonChron @KPRC2 @FOX26Houston #trainbetter pic.twitter.com/mZkWea606d
— Joseph D S❄️ (@ThePlatypusesTX) January 31, 2020