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Caught on Camera: Spirit Airlines Forced to Divert After Passenger Tries to Open Emergency Door

A Spirit Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles made an unplanned detour after a passenger attempted to open an emergency door mid-flight. Video shows the man being restrained by other passengers until the flight made an emergency landing in Denver.

A Spirit Airlines flyer could face criminal charges or civil fines after attempting to open an emergency door while their aircraft was still mid-air. NBC News reports the flyer tried to access the door aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 185 on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

After Returning from Lavatory, Shirtless Flyer Tries to Escape Plane

The incident happened after the flight departed Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Those aboard the flight report the passenger got up to use the lavatory before the incident took a very hard turn.

After using the facilities, witnesses say the flyer emerged without a shirt, and attempted to open the emergency exit. Other flyers were quick to spring into action, as video shows others pinning the passenger down so they couldn’t get to the door. The captain declared an emergency, and diverted the flight to Denver International Airport (DEN).

Upon arrival, police escorted the passenger off the aircraft. Additional video shows the flyer being taken away on a gurney by paramedics. The flight was allowed to continue to Los Angeles without further incident, arriving after midnight local time. The passenger’s identity has not been released, nor have any details on why he attempted to open the emergency exit.

“It is important to note that opening a door inflight is impossible due to air pressure inside the cabin pinning the door against its frame with force stronger than any person could ever overcome,” Spirit Airlines told NBC News in a statement. “We thank the crew members and Guests who assisted for handling this situation quickly prior to arrival.”

Flyer Could Face Civil Penalties After Spike in Bad Behavior Incidents

The Federal Aviation Administration could step in and assess up to $35,000 in civil fines against the passenger, after a rule on bad behavior was extended as long as masks are required on flights. The rule was first instituted shortly after the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, but has since been continued indefinitely.

CA1900 March 29, 2021

spainflyer -- DB Cooper did it by claiming to have a bomb, and directing the crew to stay below 10,000 feet and keep the plane unpressurized. That's what allowed him to open the airstairs in the back while in flight.

VRFast March 29, 2021

Did they stop flying Air Marshals on domestic flights? If they had one they probably wouldn't need to divert since indeed the dude would be handcuffed to a seat as someone mentioned previously. After all this midair ruckus on some flights recently.

aresef March 29, 2021

Don't FA's have flex cuffs? Were those not an option?

206driver March 29, 2021

What if a person had incredible strength, like David Banner the Incredible Hulk, and ripped the door open?

Prof_Dr_G March 28, 2021

Well, "barbarians in the air" is a new benefit the airlines have given us. Flying in this day and age is worse than riding the subway in NYC.