A Southwest flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb. after witnesses said an onboard passenger tried to open a door while on the way to California. The captain landed on Eppley Airfield to have the unruly passenger removed.
The incident happened on Sunday as the jet left Chicago. A flight attendant screamed, prompting other attendants and some passengers to rush to the rear of the jet.
The flight with 5 crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely at its destination about two hours behind schedule.
“Some gentleman just decided that he wanted us to visit the Lord today and … open up the back hatch while we were all already up in the air,” Monique Lawler told KABC-TV after reaching her final destination in Los Angeles.
She said the man acted strangely during the flight, and that at one point he came out of the bathroom soaking wet. She said when he went to the back of the cabin to try to pry open the door, a flight attendant screamed for help.
A doctor told KCRA-TV in Sacramento that before the flight was diverted, he and two other passengers tackled the man and restrained him until air marshals led him in handcuffs off the plane.
“He was going to do bad things to the plane so it was pretty scary,” Scott Porter said.
Passengers said the man began acting strangely shortly after takeoff from Chicago’s Midway Airport. At one point, he emerged from the bathroom soaking wet, one witness said. He then went to the back of the plane, where he tried to open the emergency exit.