Southwest Airlines passenger said Jesus told her to open plane door, feds say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A woman who caused a disturbance on a Southwest Airlines flight over the weekend told passengers that Jesus told her to open the door of the aircraft after it left Houston, according to court documents.

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According to the FBI, Southwest Airlines Flight 192, which was headed to Columbus, Ohio, from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport on Saturday made an emergency landing at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas KARK-TV reported.

Flight attendants said that Elom Agbegninou, 34, tried to pull the handle of the door exit at the rear of the aircraft during the flight, KTRK-TV reported. Agbegninou appeared in federal court on Tuesday morning, and in a federal complaint, prosecutors said she committed assault within maritime and territorial jurisdictions and interfered with flight crew members and attendants, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The disturbance reportedly started when Agbegninou attempted to open an exit door at the rear of the plane during the flight, according to court documents. At the time, the aircraft was flying at 37,000 feet, KARK reported.

Flight attendants told officers that Agbegninou shoved one of them and began pulling at the exit door handle before being restrained, KTHV-TV reported. A passenger who helped restrain Agbegninou was bitten on the right thigh, according to the television station.

Court documents state that Agbegninou allegedly told the victim that “Jesus told her to fly to Ohio” and to open the plane door, KTHV reported.

Local authorities met the plane once it landed in Little Rock and Agbegninou was removed from the aircraft, according to KTRK.

The victim was taken to a Little Rock hospital for treatment of the bite, the Democrat-Gazette reported. The federal complaint states that the victim is a military veteran with PTSD and anxiety; the victim called a veterans’ crisis hotline after the incident, according to the newspaper.

Agbegninou told investigators she was traveling to Maryland to stay with a family friend, the Democrat-Gazette reported. She bought a ticket that same day without telling her husband and boarded the plane without any luggage, according to the newspaper.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Agbegninou’s attorney expressed concern over the defendant’s mental ability to stand trial, according to court records. She has been turned over to U.S. Marshals Service custody until an evaluation is completed, according to the Democrat-Gazette.

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