Chicago, IL – Southwest Flight 722 departed Chicago Midway airport en route to Sacramento, California, on Sunday when Joshua Carl Lee Suggs got it in his head to open the rear door the plane – while in flight. Despite the efforts of flight attendants to dissuade him, he pursued his goal of opening the door until passengers tackled him. In the end, the flight had to make an unplanned landing in Omaha, Nebraska. There were 135 people aboard the flight along with 5 crew members.
The flight departed on time at 10:50AM local time and within an hour, beverages and light snacks were served to passengers. At that time, Suggs got on his feet and expressed a desire to look out the window. He was told to return to his seat by a flight attendant because the “fasten seat belt” light was lit. He ignored the request and after being asked to retake his seat a second time, he started trying to open the rear exit of the plane.
Once he was subdued, the crew brought out restraints and fellow passengers applied them to Suggs. A physician happened to be aboard the flight. The physician reported seeing Suggs’ eyes appeared dilated. He was able to speak clearly, but no one could make out his babble. In the end, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) was informed that an unruly passenger made the originally scheduled flight unsafe and the plane would need to divert to have the passenger removed from the plane. In the end, the flight arrived two hours later than originally scheduled. As for Suggs, he has been charged with a felony of interfering with flight crew members aboard a flight. He is being held in Omaha and will be arraigned in the US District Court covering the state of Nebraska. It is unclear if he suffers from any mental illness.