An American Airlines flight from Miami to Chicago was diverted to Indianapolis on Sept. 14 because of an allegedly unruly passenger.
Flight 1284 had made it to the Kentucky-Indiana line when a decision was made to divert the flight to Indianapolis after a woman became unruly, an Indianapolis Airport Authority spokesman told WLS News.
Passenger Brian Salvi told WPLG News that he became aware of a commotion about two hours into the flight.
Those on the flight described to WLS what they saw and heard.
“She was disoriented through the entire flight, not being able to find her seat, walking back and forth,” passenger Marian Frendt said of the woman. “And when she came to the back, she was sweating profusely.”
Frendt added that the woman got in an altercation with another passenger and eventually hit him.
Jim Saviano was also on the flight. He said he heard someone “screaming expletives” at the back of the plane but a flight attendant was trying to calm the woman.
“She was trying to talk the girl down,” Saviano said. “She seemed really calm. She was talking about her boyfriend. And then, all of a sudden, she grabbed (the flight attendant) by the face, kissed her and then punched her in the face.”
That’s when, passengers said, the pilot came over the intercom and asked passengers to help restrain the woman.
“He just said large men,” Saviano said. “He (the pilot) said, 'I need large passengers to restrain another passenger.' So when I hear ‘large passenger,’ I'm thinking something big is going down.”
Shortly after that, the flight made its unscheduled stop.
“We had to make an emergency landing in Indianapolis, and at that point you could hear her just kind of screaming for her parents, screaming, ‘No,’ screaming that she didn't do anything,” Salvi told WPLG. “It was very, very intense.”
The airport spokesman told WLS the passenger was taken into custody by airport police before being picked up by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and transported to the Marion County Jail.
The woman in question was identified on Tuesday as Daniela Velez-Reyes, 25, of Chicago. She has been charged with battery with injury, battery without injury, battery of a public safety officer, criminal recklessness, disorderly conduct and disruption of the operation of an aircraft, according to WLS.
The flight landed just before 6 p.m. in Indianapolis, according to WPLG. The diversion made the flight about 90 minutes late to Chicago.
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