CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Authorities say a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Houston was diverted after a passenger became disruptive and attempted to open an exterior door while the plane was in the air.
Southwest Flight 4519 was diverted Sunday to the Texas Gulf Coast city of Corpus Christi where the passenger was removed.
John Hyland, chief of public safety for Corpus Christi International Airport, said an off-duty officer on the flight helped to restrain the passenger.
He said the woman was pacing back and forth along the aisle and not following instructions from crew before she reached for the door.
A Jacksonville woman, who was on the flight and recorded video as the plane made an emergency landing, told News4Jax on Monday that the woman fought with flight attendants who tried to stop her.
"The flight attendant grabs her and as they're telling her, 'You need to get back to your seat,' she jumped across the three people and grabbed the lever and ripped it off," Erin McCoy said. "Everybody was screaming, 'Grab her! Grab her!"
McCoy said the off-duty officer sat on the woman until the plane safely landed, and then the FBI took her into custody.
According to Hyland, the woman was committed for a mental health evaluation.
The flight carrying more than 170 passengers and crew later continued on to Houston, about four hours behind schedule.