A group of Southwest Airlines passengers took matters into their own hands on Sunday, when a man on board a Chicago-to-Sacramento flight became unruly and tried to open one of the exit door latches mid-flight.
The flight was diverted to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebr., after the scuffle and was met by authorities, who removed the passenger from the Southwest plane, before the flight continued on to its intended destination, Sacramento, Calif.
Five crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely, about two hours behind schedule but grateful to those who took action to avoid a mid-air disaster.
Southwest passenger Monique Lawler told KABC-TV when she reached Los Angeles, her final destination, “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.”
Lawler also captured when air marshals took the man away in handcuffs:
The Southwest passenger said the man had been acting strangely from the beginning of the flight and at one point he came out of the lavatory located in the back of the plane soaking wet and when the man tried to open the back window on the plane, one of the flight attendants started screaming.
A female passenger said that she became concerned when a few “big guys” got out of their seat and ran to the back of the plane, after they heard the screaming.
A doctor, who was a passenger on the Southwest flight, told KCRA-TV that he and two fellow passengers tackled the man — who appeared to be fairly tall — to the ground and held him until the plane reached its destination in Omaha.
“He was going to do bad things to the plane so it was pretty scary,” Scott Porter said.
California-bound Southwest Airlines flight diverted to Omaha, Neb. after witnesses say passenger tried to open door:
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 14, 2014
Ever since the September 11, 2001, in which four airliners were hijacked by terrorists to be used as weapons, passengers are considered as a line of defense in many instances, following the heroic actions of passengers on board Flight 93, which was believed to be headed towards the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
After the Southwest passenger was removed from the plane the rest of the passengers broke into applause as a way to recognize the heroic men that helped subdue the unruly man.
[Image via Youtube]