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Southwest Flight Diverted After Woman Tries to Open Emergency Exit

Image: Southwest Flight Diverted After Woman Tries to Open Emergency Exit
The tail section of a Southwest Airlines plane is seen at the Oakland International Airport on July 11, 2005, in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017 01:50 PM

A Southwest Airlines flight headed for Houston was diverted after a woman tried to open the emergency exit to the plane in the middle of the flight.

The flight from Los Angeles to Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, landed at Corpus Christi International Airport in Nueces County, Texas, on Sunday after the woman became "disruptive" and "unruly," according to the International Business Times.

The passenger was removed from the aircraft by authorities after the emergency landing.

"Following an uneventful landing, local authorities met the aircraft at a gate and removed the disruptive passenger," Southwest said in a statement, according to the Houston Chronicle. "The safe operation of every flight is our highest priority and we expect the aircraft to depart shortly to complete the journey to Houston."

The passenger in question had reportedly been acting out of the ordinary before boarding the plane.

Passengers said the woman was yelling while in the Los Angeles International Airport, saying she needed her medication, the Chronicle noted. She also accused the government of mistreating her.

"Prior to the flight, she had a couple of outbursts saying she was being treated wrong. Some things with the government -- personal and political," Terrance Franklin, a passenger on the flight, said, according to IBT. "Once we got in the air, that's when it all started again. She was walking back and forth. I knew something wasn't right."

Pamela Minchew, an off-duty officer from Cleveland, subdued the woman after she tried to "open the exit door in mid-flight," according to the Houston Chronicle.

"She had observed the irrational passenger attempting to open the exit door in mid-flight. Fearing for her safety and the safety of everyone on the plane, she took action and was able to restrain the passenger," said Cleveland ISD Police Chief Rex Evans, according to the Chronicle. "I can't tell you how proud I am of her. She did a stellar job. The authorities are very pleased with how she handled the incident."

Kristy Gillentine, a passenger on the flight who witnessed the incident, said she and the other passengers applauded Minchew when she walked back onto the plane.

"The rest of the passengers cheered when the off-duty officer came back on board, hailing her a hero," Gillentine said. "If she hadn't acted so quickly, things could have gone very differently."

The FBI is currently investigating the incident.

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A Southwest flight headed for Houston was diverted after a woman tried to open the emergency exit to the plane in the middle of the flight.
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2017-50-27
Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017 01:50 PM
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