Aircraft diverted to Memphis after passenger tries to open exit - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Aircraft diverted to Memphis after passenger attempts to open emergency exit

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

An AirTran flight that left Baltimore Monday afternoon en route to Austin, Texas, was forced to land at Memphis International Airport after an "unruly passenger" attempted to open an emergency exit at the back of the plane.

The jet, which is owned by AirTran, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, landed in Memphis at 6:30 p.m., and everyone on board was forced to exit.

myFOXAustin: Plane traveling to ABIA makes emergency landing in Memphis
FOX45 Baltimore: AirTran plane diverted due to unruly passenger

According to a Southwest Airlines / AirTran representative, the unidentified man was detained by the FBI and TSA.

No one aboard the aircraft was hurt, which left Baltimore-Washington International at 4:01 p.m. CDT. There were 120 passengers and a crew of five on board.

A passenger aboard Flight 265 told FOX13 News sister station KTBC members of military were on the airplane and they held the male passenger until Flight 265 could make emergency landing into Memphis.

According to, Flight 265 was in Little Rock airspace when it circled back to Memphis to make an emergency landing.

Another passenger told the passenger was acting suicidal saying he didn't want to live.

John Geraud, Memphis International Airport Vice President of Operations, said pilots operating the Boeing 737 aircraft made an emergency landing in Memphis because it was the closest AirTran airport. Airport Police met the jet and escorted the passenger off the plane.

FBI agents interviewed the passenger and then transported him to an undisclosed location for evaluation. The FBI would not elaborate.

Geraud said the passenger removed from Flight 265 did not appear to be drunk or unruly at the time he was detained.

Before being allowed to reboard the aircraft for Austin, FBI and Airport Police interviewed passengers while AirTran employees checked the emergency exit to make sure it was secure. The emergency exit door did not open during flight, Geraud said.

The passengers were allowed back on board the plane and it left for Austin Bergstrom International Airport at around 8:24 p.m.

The FBI is determining if charges will be filed.

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FOX13 News reporters Matt Gerien and Greg Coy and myFOXAustin executive producer Chris Walker contributed to this report.

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