A Southwest flight descended into chaos over the weekend when a clearly disturbed woman reportedly tried opening the exit door of the aircraft and then proceeded to bite the man who thwarted her attempt.
The woman, 34-year-old Elom Agbegninou, was on a Southwest flight from Houston, Texas, to Columbus, Ohio, Saturday when her behavior purportedly took an alarming turn.
According to reports, when the airplane was some 37,000 feet in the air, she walked to the back of the cabin and began staring at the exit door.
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Noticing her erratic behavior, flight attendants reportedly instructed Agbegninou to use the lavatory or return to her seat. The woman, though, allegedly declined the attendants’ instructions and tried opening the airplane’s exit door.
That’s when things took a truly chaotic turn. A nearby passenger saw what was going on, and leapt to action. He attempted to restrain Agbegninou, who responded by biting the fellow traveler’s right thigh.
As she sunk her teeth into the person’s leg, the passenger “worked their fingers up to (her) jawline in an attempt to have (her) release the bite, which she eventually did,” according to legal documents, KPRC-TV reported.
Undeterred, the woman then began hitting her head against the floor of the airplane, allegedly claiming “Jesus told her to fly to Ohio and Jesus told her to open the door,” court documents stated.
The Southwest trip was ultimately diverted to Little Rock, Arkansas, for an early landing. Agbegninou was detained by federal authorities on the ground in Arkansas once the airplane landed. The unnamed passenger who was bitten by the disturbed traveler was taken to a nearby hospital, where he or she received antibiotics as well as hepatitis inoculation to fend off any infections.
As for Agbegninou, she told authorities she had not flown in a long time and admitted she boarded the flight to Ohio without any luggage and without having informed her husband of her travel plans. Her goal, she claimed, was to visit a friend who is a pastor in Maryland.
She admitted to attempting to open the plane’s exit door and biting the passenger, reportedly telling law enforcement officials she had become “very anxious and normally would not have done those things.” The passenger who fell victim to Agbegninou’s apparent psychotic episode is a veteran and has reportedly suffered from symptoms of PTSD in the wake of the assault.
The plane eventually took off again and landed in Columbus about three hours later than previously scheduled. Agbegninou has since been charged with assault.
The traveler appeared in court Wednesday, according to the Daily Mail. However, her attorney expressed concerns about continuing with legal proceedings due to Agbegninou’s mental state.
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