A Southwest Airlines flight made an unexpected diversion to Little Rock, Arkansas on Saturday to dump an unruly passenger after she bit her seatmate and tried to open the emergency exit door, claiming Jesus told her to do it.
Southwest Airlines Little Rock Diversion – Woman Blames Jesus For Biting Seatmate, Trying To Open Emergency Exit Door At 37,000 Feet
The Southwest Airlines flight, WN192, was heading from Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to John Glen Columbus International Airport in Ohio (CMH).
A Southwest spokesperson confirmed:
“Flight 192 traveling from Houston to Columbu safety diverted to Little Rock after our Crew observed disruptive behavior from a passenger on the flight.”
Per Southwest, “The crew declared an emergency due to a passenger disturbance.”
The aircraft landed at 3:30 pm local time at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock and the unruly passenger was removed. The plane was met by both Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers and local law enforcement.
The alleged unruly passenger has been identified as 34-year-old Elom Agbegninou. An FBI spokesperson told NBC News:
“The FBI is the primary federal agency authorized to investigate potential assault aboard aircraft violations. We will work closely with the prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas to thoroughly investigate this incident and potentially bring federal charges.”
Agbegninou will likely face charges of assault and interference with flight crew members. According to witnesses onboard, she tried to pull the aircraft emergency door open at 37,000 feet. She then shoved a flight attendant who tried to stop her before she was finally tackled and restrained. In the skirmish, she bit the thigh of a fellow passenger who tried to stop her.
Agbegninou later told investors, “Jesus told me to fly to Ohio and Jesus told me to open the plane door.”
Unruly passenger numbers peaked at 5,981 in 2021 but the 2,178 so far in 2022 are still well-above historic pre-pandemic norms.
Even with mandatory masking no longer a root of many disturbances, poor passenger behavior continues to be a major issue on far too many flights. It sounds like Agbegninou is hearing voices in her head…
image: Bill Abbott