A disruptive passenger sparked a hijack alert Saturday on a Jet2 flight from London to Dalaman, Turkey, causing two Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighters to be dispatched in order to intercept the Airbus 321.
Jet2 flight LS 1503 departed from London’s Stansted Airport at around 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. EDT) but was forced to return to the airport, flanked by the RAF jets, 20 minutes later. The decision to divert the plane was made after an unidentified woman tried to open the main exit of the plane. She also tried to access the cockpit before being restrained by crew members and co-passengers.
Stewart Brown, who sat six rows behind the woman, told the Sun the woman in question started irritating other passengers soon after the flight took off. “She seemed absolutely fine before takeoff but then strangely very drunk or drugged as we took off,” he said.
Another passenger, Amy Varol, who also witnessed the incident, said that the woman suddenly made a dash for the main exit while the flight was mid-air. “The woman was walking down the aisle when she literally ran to the exit door. She had her hands on the handle trying to open it. Luckily there were two cabin crew there who pulled her off the door,” Varol said.
Varol added that the woman next tried to open the cockpit door before being physically restrained by some fellow passengers. “She started assaulting the two crew members, a woman and a man. A big guy then literally threw her down to the floor and there was one person holding one arm and another person holding the other. Then a man sat on her and one person was holding her leg and someone else holding the other one. That’s when she started screaming ‘get off me. I’m going to kill everyone’,” she said.
The woman reportedly started scratching and hitting the crew members who were trying to keep her from opening the cockpit door. After she repeatedly kept getting up and attempting to open the cockpit door, she was pinned to her seat by six people. “She kept singing songs and screaming she’s gonna kill us, ‘I want to get off’, ‘I’m gonna f—— hit you’ ‘f—— come on then.’ I was terrified. There’s nothing you can do, you can’t escape,” Varol said.
A video of the incident, available on YouTube, showed the woman being held by crew members as well as a few passengers. She could also be seen being escorted by officials after being removed from the flight at London. She was arrested on suspicion of assault and endangering an aircraft.
Around the time of the incident, many people living near Stansted reported hearing a loud noise they thought could be an explosion.
The Essex Police later confirmed: “We were made aware of a disruptive passenger on an inbound flight to Stansted this evening, Saturday, June 22. There is a possibility that residents nearby may have heard a loud noise, often associated with a sonic boom, as the aircraft descended into Stansted airspace.”
A Jet2 spokesman confirmed the incident. “We are aware of an incident regarding an extremely disruptive passenger on a flight from Stansted to Dalaman earlier this evening. The aircraft has returned safely and we are liaising with the relevant authorities to support their investigation. We are working hard to ensure the remaining customers reach their destination as soon possible,” he said.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.