'Mentally disturbed' passenger tries to open plane door during flight

The woman tried to open the plane door (pictured by stock image) and jump out. [Photo: Getty]
The woman tried to open the plane door (pictured by stock image) and jump out. [Photo: Getty]

Words: Megan Johnson

Passengers aboard a Delta flight headed to New York City's LaGuardia airport experienced quite the shock when a "mentally ill" woman attempted to open the plane door mid-flight.

"Young woman just tried to jump out of our plane," fellow passenger Stacy Herbert tweeted. "Couldn’t get door open, of course."

According to Herbert, the twenty-something woman "became suicidal and tried to open the door of plane as we descended into LGA. Her father pulled her from door. She was screaming her head off that she needed to open the door and die."

The pilot declared an emergency, telling live air traffic control transmission “The forward service door has been opened. We’ll need crash and fire rescue.”

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Along with her father, flight attendants managed to subdue the woman. The pilot updated their status, cancelling the crash fire rescue.

“We just had a disturbed passenger, mentally disturbed passenger, trying to open the forward door,” he said. “Everything’s under control now. We’re going to be taxing to the gate.”

The flight, Delta 5935, which was operated by Republic Airways, was headed from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to LaGuardia International Airport in the New York City borough of Queens. The plane landed at LaGuardia, and was greeted by a bevy of police vehicles and ambulances. The woman, who continued screaming after she had exited the plane, was led to protective custody.

"I wasn’t scared as I knew the door could not be opened but her shrieks were terrifying. And she was sitting behind us so when she was pulled back to her seat it was awful to see her suicidal distress," Herbert tweeted.

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She added that passengers had to remain to provide statements about the incident.

CBS2 reported that the distraught passenger was a young woman attending college in the South who was the victim of a crime.

"We’re aware of the social media report related to the flight and are looking into it, but what I can tell you now is that the flight landed uneventfully and proceeded to its gate," a Republic Airways spokesperson told NBC New York.