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Unruly passenger forces American flight to divert to Kansas City International Airport

AA 1775.jpg
Posted at 4:11 PM, Feb 13, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Passengers on board an American Airlines flight between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. made an unplanned emergency diversion Sunday to Kansas City.

American flight 1775 left Los Angeles International Airport at 11:15 a.m. central time en route to Reagan National Airport in Washington.

According to flight tracker Flight Aware, about three hours into the flight, an unruly passenger forced the plane to make an unplanned emergency diversion to Kansas City International Airport.

An American Airlines spokesperson released the following statement:

"American Airlines flight 1775 with service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) diverted to Kansas City (MCI) due to an unruly passenger. The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival. We’re grateful to our crew members, who are consistently dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism."

Passengers who said they were on board the flight tweeted that the flight crew worked to subdue the passenger while the pilots descended to KCI.

Once the flight was on the ground, passengers told KSHB 41 News FBI agents started to conduct interviews with any potential witnesses.

When the commotion started, Karen Alston, a passenger on the flight sitting in row 17A, says she was simply watching a movie.

"All of a sudden, the cabin lights came on, and I saw about eight men jump up ahead towards first class," Alston said. "We started descending very, very quickly, and I knew we were landing. I knew immediately we were landing."

As a frequent flyer on American Airlines, Alston says she never imagined she would witness something of this nature. She thanks the men and women who saved her life and the lives of others on the flight.

"Life is a precious thing that we would all like to continue, and so in hindsight, I am so thankful for the men that risked their lives to save ours today. They are heroes, and they deserved to be praised," Alston said.

Once the FBI completed interviews, the remaining passengers were expected to resume their flight to Washington.

A local FBI spokesperson said the passenger was taken into custody for interfering with the flight crew.