On a plane leaving Houston's Hobby Airport Saturday, a woman tried to open an exit door in midflight and bit a passenger who tried to stop her, according to Houston authorities. The incident on the plane forced an emergency landing, a federal criminal complaint filed Monday states.
The FBI says the woman, who was on a Southwest Airlines plane from Houston to Columbus, Ohio, forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Little Rock, Arkansas said in midflight that “Jesus told her to open the plane door,” court documents released Monday said.
According to KPRC, documents released by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas say the 34-year-old walked to the back of the plane where she “stared” at the exit door.
In the flight attendant's statement in the criminal complaint, the woman asked multiple crew members if she could look out the window near the flight attendant's jumpseat. After each attendant told her no, she allegedly forced her way around a flight attendant and began pulling on the exit door handle while the plane was 37,000 feet in the air.
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The Houston Chronicle reports that another flight attendant told authorities they were shoved while she was trying to get to the exit door, according to the complaint, filed by the FBI.
A passenger overheard someone say “she’s trying to open the door,” so she went to the rear of the plane to help detain the woman, pinning her to the ground. The woman bit a passenger on the thigh and apparently held on. The documents said the woman continued to bite the victim until the victim “worked their fingers up to (her) jawline in an attempt to have (her) release the bite, which she eventually did.”
The woman told the passenger who pinned her that “Jesus told her to fly to Ohio, and Jesus told her to open the plane door,” according to the complaint.
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After the plane made an emergency landing at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, the woman was taken into custody.
The passenger who was bitten received treatment at a local hospital and was reported to have post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
In the documents, obtained by KPRC, the woman told authorities she planned to go to Maryland to stay with a family friend who was a pastor. She apparently left her home on Saturday without telling her husband and did not bring any luggage and was traveling alone.
She "had not flown in 'a long time' and she claimed she could not breathe on the plane so she decided to get up from her seat. She says she remembers trying to open the door and biting a passenger. She also said she has anxiety and “became very anxious and normally would not have done those things.”
In the complaint, the woman is facing charges of assault within maritime and territorial jurisdiction and interference with flight crew members and attendants.