Published: Tue, June 27, 2017
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Southwest flight diverted after woman attempts to open door


The pilot chose to divert to Corpus Christi, Texas, after crew members reported "a potential threat in the cabin", Southwest Airlines said in a statement, noting that the FBI is investigating the situation. Photo courtesy of Cleveland ISD Police Department.

As she attempted to open the emergency exit aboard the plane, she was tackled and subdued by a passenger, Pamela Michenow, an off-duty officer of the Cleveland, Texas, Independent School District.

The woman refused to stay in her seat and made remarks about being treated unfairly by the government as she paced in the aisles, passengers say.

Due to differences in air pressure, experts say it's nearly impossible for a passenger to open the door of an aircraft during flight. "Somebody who was sitting down right next to her jumped and grabbed her and threw her down", passenger Moses Obregon said to KPRC.

CCIA officials say their public safety officers were in contact with the Southwest pilot to assist the passenger off the plane.

"Everybody was just in shock", he said from the Corpus Christi airport, where passengers had been allowed to leave the plane.

"She had no choice but to identify herself as a law enforcement officer and take immediate action", he said.

"Following an uneventful landing, local authorities met the aircraft at a gate and removed the disruptive passenger", the airline said.

Passengers disembarked and were on the ground for four hours in Corpus Christi.

Gillentine wrote in the comments of her videos the woman was trying to open an emergency exit door when an off-duty police officer stopped her. "If she hadn't acted so quickly, things could have gone very differently".

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