Unruly man forces Southwest jet to divert flight

  • Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 2:15 p.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, April 14, 2014 5:18 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California-bound Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb., on Sunday after witnesses said a passenger tried to open a door.

The captain of the Chicago-to-Sacramento flight landed on Eppley Airfield to “have an unruly passenger removed” before continuing on to Sacramento, the airlines said in a statement.

The flight with five 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 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.

The airline had no further details about the incident.

A call to the Omaha Airport Authority seeking information about the passenger wasn’t immediately returned.

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