Southwest jet diverts after unruly flier tries to open door
A Southwest flight headed from Chicago to Sacramento flight diverted to Omaha Sunday after a passenger apparently tried to open one of the plane's doors in flight.
Southwest confirmed in a statement to KABC-TV of Los Angeles that captain of the Flight 722 made the decision to divert to Omaha to "have an unruly passenger removed" before continuing to Sacramento.
The accused passenger -- identified by prosecutors as 23-year-old Joshua Carl Lee Suggs -- was charged on Monday with a federal offense for interfering with the crew of the flight, according to The Associated Press. He was expected to appear on court on the charges on Wednesday.
As for the incident, there were 134 passengers and 5 crew members on Flight 722, which arrived safely in Sacramento about two hours later than originally scheduled.
"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, a passenger on the flight, says to KABC-TV.
She tells the station the man had been acting oddly after the flight took off. At one point, he came out of the bathroom soaking wet, according to Lawler's account.
Eyewitnesses say the man then went to the back of the cabin and attempted to pry open the door, prompting a flight attendant to scream for help.
Three passengers tackled the man and restrained him until the flight landed in Nebraska and authorities handcuffed the man and took him off the aircraft, according to KCRA-TV of Sacramento.
"He was going to do bad things to the plane so it was pretty scary," says Scott Porter, one of the passengers who tells KCRA that he helped restrain the man.
Natalie Lee, another passenger on Flight 722, says the incident rattled those on board.
"We had people nauseated, practically fainting, crying," Lee says to KCRA.