A flight from New York to Florida was diverted to a North Carolina airport Wednesday because of a troubled passenger, authorities said. Frontier Airlines Flight 1335 took off from LaGuardia Airport and was en route to Orlando International Airport when it was diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 8:15 p.m. because of a “conflicting passenger,” according to an airport statement.
Officers from Wake County airport police, fire and emergency medical services attended to the situation, according to the statement, which offered no details on how the situation was resolved. The flight departed for Orlando at about 9:40 p.m., airport officials said, referring questions to the FBI and the airline. The investigation is ongoing and no federal charges have been filed so far, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in an email. The airline has not yet responded to a request for information about the incident.
Savannah Figueroa, who was on the flight, told WRAL-TV that the man claimed people were touching him and trying to bury needles to get his DNA, and threatened other people on the plane. Figueroa added that when flight attendants asked the man to lower his voice, he became even angrier. The man insulted, yelled and threatened everyone on the plane, Figueroa said. Finally, several men got up from their seats and took off their belts to restrain the conflicted passenger. Figueroa said the plane was about an hour away when the man started screaming. Video footage of the incident showed flight attendants blocking cabin doors and passengers trying to subdue the man mid-flight.
In the video, filmed on Frontier Airlines Flight 1335, the screaming male passenger is surrounded by other passengers trying to tie him up. A passenger told WTVD that the anonymous man had threatened a baby and said he would kill everyone on the flight, which was traveling from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Orlando on Wednesday night (Feb. 9).
During the commotion, a woman yells, “Hey, he needs to sit in his seat, so don’t tie his feet that way. He needs to be able to sit in his seat.” The crazed passenger, who apparently accused a woman of trying to “steal my DNA” with a syringe, yells, “Don’t let go! No!” Another person on the plane shouts, “Tie him up!
The chaotic incident came to an end when the plane made an unscheduled stop at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where police escorted the man off the plane. It meant the plane was held for two hours at the airport before it could continue its journey to Orlando, according to the Daily Star.