Southwest Airlines passenger tried opening plane door because Jesus told her to, documents state

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Southwest passenger said 'Jesus told her to' open door: documents
A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight that had to be diverted said she opened the plane door because Jesus told her to, according to court documents.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (KTRK) -- A woman on board an Ohio-bound flight out of Houston told passengers that Jesus told her to open the door of the plane after it had left Hobby Airport, according to court documents.

Saturday's flight had to be diverted from its original path and was redirected to Little Rock, Arkansas, after the woman presented unruly behavior, according to the FBI.

Flight attendants said 34-year-old Elom Agbegninou tried to pull the handle of the exit during the Southwest flight to Columbus, Ohio, according to documents.

RELATED: Unruly passenger forces Frontier flight from NYC to divert to North Carolina

Local authorities met the plane once it landed in Little Rock and had Agbegninou removed from the flight.

Witnesses told authorities that before the incident, Agbegninou had reportedly asked two flight attendants if she could look out the window by the jump seat. At this point, the flight was 37,000 feet in the sky when Agbegninou tried to open the door but was wrestled down, documents state.

Another passenger, who was bit while trying to restrain the woman, claimed that Agbegninou reportedly said Jesus told her to fly to Ohio and that Jesus told her to open the plane door, the document added.

In addition, documents state Agbegninou was headed to Maryland to stay with a family friend who was a pastor. She left her home on Nov. 26 and didn't tell her husband. She also bought a same-day plane ticket. She said she couldn't breathe on the plane and decided to get up from her seat. She said she has anxiety, became very anxious, and normally wouldn't have done these things.

Agbegninou is charged with assault maritime and territorial jurisdiction and interference with flight crew members and attendants.

The FBI released the following statement on Saturday following the incident:

"I can confirm that FBI Little Rock is investigating an alleged incident that occurred on Southwest Flight 192. That flight was diverted to Little Rock, and one individual is in custody at this time. An FBI Little Rock Airport Liaison Agent and other investigators are working closely with our partners at LRPD, the Little Rock airport, and Southwest Airlines. The FBI is the primary federal agency authorized to investigate potential assault aboard aircraft violations.We will work closely with the prosecutors at the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas to thoroughly investigate this incident and potentially bring federal charges."

This is one of three recent incidents that dealt with passenger disturbances in November.

On Nov. 19, a passenger had to be restrained on a flight from Poland to John F. Kennedy Airport after he attempted to open the cockpit door and started banging on it while the plane was in descent. While passengers and crews were restraining him, a flight attendant was struck.

The man was arrested, but it is unclear if charges would be filed.

On Nov. 13, a Frontier Airlines passenger was able to make it through security with two box cutters and began acting erratically on a flight headed to Tampa, Florida, from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The flight was diverted to Atlanta, Georgia.

According to officials, the man started making threats and had to be restrained by veterans.

Since then, TSA said they would conduct additional training to ensure the safety of passengers.