Published August 20, 2013
An AirTran flight from Baltimore to Austin, Texas was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Memphis Monday evening after a passenger attempted to open an emergency exit at the back of the plane while it was in flight.
MyFoxMemphis.com reported that the AirTran Flight 265 landed at around 6:30 p.m. and passengers were asked to leave the plane so that they could be interviewed by authorities. In the meantime, AirTran employees checked the emergency exit door to make sure it was secure. The unidentified male passenger was escorted off the jet by airport police and was detained for evaluation by the FBI and the TSA. No charges have yet been filed.
One passenger told MyFoxAustin.com that the man was acting suicidal, saying he didn't want to live. Another passenger said that the man was restrained by members of the military who were on the flight and stayed with him until the plane landed. In all, there were 120 passengers and a five-person crew on board the flight.
The incident occurred while the plane was over Little Rock, Ark. The plane returned to Memphis because it was the closest AirTran airport.
Memphis International Airport Vice President of Operations John Geraud said that the man did not appear to be drunk or unruly at the time of his arrest. The plane took off for Austin again shortly before 8:30 p.m., nearly two hours after it had been forced to land.