Southwest Airlines plane returns to LAX after fight between passengers

LOS ANGELES, CA -- A Southwest Airlines flight headed to San Francisco had to return to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport after a fight broke out between two passengers.

The incident happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. Sunday as flight 2010 was in the taxi lane ready to take off.

Approximately 30 minutes into the 1 1/2 hour flight, the pilot declared an emergency and returned to the gate, where the flight was met by police and FBI agents.

In the radio call made to the air traffic control tower from, the pilot can be heard telling the controller, "Hey, flight attendant just called. Evidently we got two passengers that are in a physical altercation so we need to get turned around back to LAX."

An airline spokesperson said one person was removed from the flight. FBI officials said the man was questioned and released pending further investigation.

Airline officials said the fight involved passengers who were not traveling together. It's not clear exactly what took place, but passengers on board said a man physically harassed a woman in front of him after she reclined her seat.

Southwest Airlines released a statement saying, in part, that "flight attendants swiftly coordinated with pilots on the flight deck to get the aircraft on the ground safely and quickly after a physical altercation by one passenger against another."

The FBI was investigating the incident.

The remaining 136 passengers switched planes and arrived at San Francisco International Airport about five hours behind schedule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. null
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