LAS VEGAS NV Dec 7 2016 A group of people on a Las Vegas-bound Southwest flight took down a passenger after he allegedly tried to open the main cabin door during the flight.
On Saturday night, Southwest flight #4494 from Chicago was diverted to Denver due to a potential security threat on board. Navy Veteran David Ward was among the 170 people on the flight and said he noticed something strange about the man sitting across the aisle from him.
"About 45 minutes into the flight at cruising altitude, I noticed this gentleman sitting across from me that had a cocktail and he was getting kind of fidgety," said Ward.
Ward says he saw the 57-year-old passenger take what looked like prescription medication. The man dumped the contents into his mouth and chased it down with alcohol. Ward says the man then got up and walked toward the passenger entrance of the plane and tried to open it but was frustrated when it didn't open.
"That upset him and set him off into a psychotic episode, he then took the drink cart from the flight attendant pulled it to the ground...went smashing all of the aircraft," said Ward.
At this point, the Navy veteran, already on high alert, was ready to take action.
"He started walking down screaming at the top of his lungs, calling all the passengers filthy names and that we were all being kidnapped and didn't know it," said Ward.
That's when Ward and three other men decided to make their move.
"The flight attendant came immediately up to the front of the aircraft and asked us put him to the floor and it took four of us to get him down to the floor," said Ward.
Southwest Airlines says the pilot of the 737 notified authorities of "a potential security threat onboard" and then diverted the plane to Denver where it was "met by law enforcement."
The FBI describes the man as allegedly drunk, unruly and disobedient. He fought with the flight crew, and other passengers and had to be restrained on the Southwest flight.
The case is now with the US Attorney’s Office and they will decide if charges are to be filed against him. As for David Ward, Southwest gave him a travel voucher and 40,000 free points for future travel.