A Southwest Airlines flight was diverted on Sunday afternoon after a deranged woman began trying to open the emergency exit mid-flight – and was able to partially get the door unsealed before being apprehended.
The frightening incident took place on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston, when a distressed woman suddenly tried to open the door just over two hours into the flight.
— Kristy Gillentine (@KrisGillentine) June 26, 2017
“She actually took off part of the door, the little plastic frame around the window,” witness Henrietta Mokwauh told the New York Daily News. “It’s hard for me to believe she wasn’t trying to reach the door. She reached across the exit row for it.”
“It was intense,” she continued. “I was sitting right there. If it had opened, it would have taken us out. It would have cost a lot of people their lives.”
Other witnesses claimed that the woman had been acting bizarrely long before she got on the flight.
“Prior to the flight, she had a couple of outbursts saying she was being treated wrong,” Terrance Franklin told KTRK-TV. “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.”
When the woman started trying to open the door, off-duty police officer Pamela Minchew of the Cleveland ISD police department in Texas was the one to subdue her. According to Cleveland ISD Police Chief Rex Eveans, Minchew identified herself as a law enforcement officer and restrained the woman before she could cause any further damage.
Now, the FBI is investigating the incident because it happened aboard a flight. Authorities have yet to publicly identify the woman who caused the fracas.