Unruly man tries to open plane door

Last updated 08:37 15/04/2014

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A man removed from a California-bound Southwest Airlines flight is facing federal charges because he tried to open a door.

Prosecutors charged 23-year-old Joshua Carl Lee Suggs Monday with interfering with the crew of the Chicago-to-Sacramento flight.

The plane diverted to Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday, so Suggs could be removed.

The complaint against the Sacramento man says he refused to return to his seat, as instructed, before trying to open a door. The incident happened about an hour into the flight.

The passengers who helped subdue Suggs told officers his pupils were dilated and his speech was incoherent.

Suggs is expected to appear in court on Wednesday. Court records did not show an attorney for him on Monday.

The captain of the Chicago-to-Sacramento flight landed on Eppley Airfield to "have an unruly passenger removed" before continuing on to Sacramento, the airlines said in a statement.

The flight with 5 crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely at its destination about two hours behind schedule.

"Some gentleman just decided that he wanted us to visit the Lord today and ... open up the back hatch while we were all already up in the air," Monique Lawler told KABC-TV after reaching her final destination in Los Angeles.

She said the man acted strangely during the flight, and that at one point he came out of the bathroom soaking wet. She said when he went to the back of the cabin to try to pry open the door, a flight attendant screamed for help.

A doctor told KCRA-TV in Sacramento he and two other passengers tackled the man and restrained him until air marshals led him in handcuffs off the plane.

"He was going to do bad things to the plane so it was pretty scary," Scott Porter said.

The airline had no further details about the incident.

A call to the Omaha Airport Authority seeking information about the passenger wasn't immediately returned.

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- AP

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