LAX-Bound Plane Escorted By F-16s To Tucson Over Disorderly Passenger
A planed headed to LAX was diverted to Tucson and escorted by fighter jets after a passenger allegedly refused to sit down and threatened the plane.
The Compass Airlines flight was headed from San Antonio directly to Los Angeles with about 80 people on board on Wednesday afternoon. Passengers said a man began causing problems when he refused to sit in his seat, ABC 7 reports.
Passenger Ryan Healy, who recorded some of the incident on his cellphone, said that the man was just "aimlessly walking" around the plane, including all the way up to the cockpit, and would not listen to orders from flight attendants to take his seat. Healy also told Tuscon station KGUN 9 that he was told by a flight attendant that the man "made threats against the aircraft." Another passenger told CBS Los Angeles that the man was slurring his words and "didn't sound coherent at all."
The flight was diverted to Tucson at about 3:45 p.m. local time, and F-16s from a nearby base escorted the plane to the airport, where Tucson Airport Authority Police, the FBI and the U.S. Border Patrol responded. Authorities removed the man, and then had all the passengers get off so they could search the plane.
Passengers were able to return after the plane was cleared at about 8 p.m., Tucson News Now reports.
Another passenger on the flight said he was traveling with the man, referring to himself as the man's guardian. He said the man was on medication.
This incident comes days after actress Selma Blair was removed from a flight from Mexico to LAX after she began screaming and crying. Blair later released a statement saying she was "filled with shame" over the incident, which she attributed to mixing her medication with alcohol, causing her to black out.