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Former Tiger Basketball Player Helps Subdue Airplane Attacker

Dec. 30, 2000

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) – Former Clemson basketball player Clarke Bynum helped subdue a man attacking the pilot in the cockpit of a British Airways jet Friday.

A man, identified only as a 27-year-old Kenyan, burst into the cockpit and grabbed the controls, sending the plane with 398 people aboard into two nosedives.

“I could hear the pilot screaming and you could hear a tussling match going on in there and he was hollering ‘help,”‘ Bynum told WBT Radio in Charlotte, N.C.

“I just grabbed his neck, shoulders, whatever I could get hold of and just joined in the fight. I was able to pull him off and from there we got him to the ground and the pilot was able to get control of the plane.”

The 39-year-old former player’s mother, Pat Bynum, said her son will decide Saturday whether to continue his teaching mission in Uganda or return home.

“I think the fact that he’s a strong Christian allowed him to do what he did. God gave him strength to do this,” she said.

“His heroism could lead him back to Clemson to be honored,” Tigers sports information director Tim Bourret said.

The 6-foot-7 Bynum averaged 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in four seasons with the Tigers from 1980-84. He was an All-Academic selection in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1984.

“He’s a winner, he did what it took to get it done. He’s a hard-worker, very bright, self-starter kind of a guy,” former Clemson coach Bill Foster said from his Blowing Rock, N.C., home. “He’s made some good decisions in the past 24 hours.”