FBI investigating after flight diverted to Jacksonville due to ‘unruly’ passenger

The American Airlines flight out of Miami was destined for Chicago

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An American Airlines flight made an emergency landing Thursday in Jacksonville after a disturbance involving a passenger, authorities said.

Flight 2796 out of Miami International Airport was bound for Chicago when it was diverted to Jacksonville International Airport about 12:30 p.m. because of an incident with an “unruly” passenger who had to be restrained, Jacksonville Aviation Authority spokesperson Michael Stewart told News4Jax.

In a statement, American Airlines said the flight was grounded temporarily “due to the medical needs of a passenger,” adding that “law enforcement met the aircraft at arrival.”

An FBI spokesperson confirmed that special agents were called to the airport, and the unnamed passenger was taken to an area hospital. “At this time, the FBI’s review of the incident is ongoing, and we are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine if charges will be filed,” the spokesperson said.

The airline’s flight tracker shows Flight 2796 departed Miami International Airport about 10:45 a.m. en route to Chicago. The flight was diverted to Jacksonville International Airport about 12:30 p.m. The flight was allowed to continue toward its final destination shortly before 4 p.m.

An American Airlines flight out of Miami was diverted Thursday to Jacksonville due to the "medical needs of a passenger," the airline said in a statement to News4Jax. (WJXT 2020)

An unnamed person on board the flight described erratic behavior by a passenger in a tip provided to Miami’s WPLG-TV. News4Jax has been unable to verify that person’s version of events with law enforcement.

“A man began yelling, ‘God exists, God exists,’ and then ran towards the cockpit. The flight attendants were able to contain him and an off-duty Captain helped as well,” the person said. “A nurse and medic were called to the front. He proceeded to call but then lost control again, was attacking a flight attendant and tried running back towards his seat and pushed a woman down. After landing 4 police officers came on board to get him and he was fighting them as well.”

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