Unruly SF-bound airline passenger causes emergency landing 

The captain of a San Francisco-bound airplane made an emergency landing in Colorado Springs Friday after an unruly passenger locked himself in the bathroom.

It was one of two commerical airplanes Friday to be diverted due to a disruptive passenger.

AirTran flight 39, departing from Atlanta, was escorted by two F-16 fighter jets at about 11:44 a.m. local time. The fighters arrived as the pilot of the commercial airliner landed the Boeing 737 at about noon, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“On board was an intoxicated passenger that was disruptive and locked himself in a bathroom,” read a statement from the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. “The captain made the decision to divert to Colorado Springs Airport to have the passenger removed from the aircraft.

The plane was met by law enforcement. There is no word yet on the name of the passenger but authorities, including the FBI, have detained the man.

The flight, which originally carried 132 passengers, has since been re-boarded and has departed again for San Francisco.

Also Friday, a Hawaii-bound flight had to change course and land in Los Angeles after a man was accused of harassing a woman. The man was removed from the jet that departed Las Vegas early Friday.

The man was interviewed and released after the woman declined to press charges, Los Angeles airport police Sgt. Jim Holcomb said. The exact nature of the disruption or whether the passengers knew each other wasn't known, Holcomb said.

The flight resumed to Honolulu and arrived three hours late.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com 

The Associated Press contributed to this report
 

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