Plane Diverted To Memphis After Passenger Tries To Open Emergency Exit

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Update (Aug. 21): The passenger has been indicted.

(Memphis) An AirTran flight was diverted to Memphis Monday evening because a passenger tried to open an emergency exit at the back of the plane.

The plane was on its way from Baltimore to Austin.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Brad Hawkins said in an email, “AirTran flight 265 from BWI I AUS safely diverted to MEM this evening.  I also understand there was an unruly Customer among the 120 onboard (+ crew of 5).”

John Greaud, Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority’s vice president of operations, told News Channel 3 the passengers deplaned so officials could interview them about the incident and check the aircraft.

The man was detained by the FBI for two hours.

Greaud said the man was not necessarily unruly, and that he did not appear to be drunk. Responding officers also said they didn’t think the man was intoxicated.

At about 8:30 p.m., the man was put in a police car and taken away — just as the plane took off, headed to Austin once again.

No one on the flight was harmed.

The Airport Authority is working with the FBI to determine what, if any, charges will be filed.

The path the AirTran flight took from Baltimore to Memphis.
The path the AirTran flight took from Baltimore to Memphis.

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