Washington, DC-bound flight forced to divert after passenger reportedly tried to breach cockpit
The FBI responded to the Raleigh airport and removed the passenger from the plane
An American Airlines flight bound for Washington, D.C., had to divert to Raleigh, North Carolina, due to a "disruptive passenger" on board, officials said Wednesday.
Agents from the FBI's Charlotte field office responded to the airport and removed the unruly traveler from the flight.
"The FBI is currently conducting interviews to gather the facts and will consult with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of North Carolina to determine if federal charges will be filed," an FBI spokesperson told Fox Business.
The pilot said on an Air Traffic Control recording that the flight was diverted due to a level four threat, which is issued for an "attempted or actual breach of the flight deck," according to Queen City News.
Envoy Air Flight 3444 originally took off from Jacksonville, Florida, at 2:32 p.m. and landed in Raleigh at 3:41 p.m., according to FlightAware. The plane stayed in Raleigh for two hours before taking off for Washington, D.C. at 5:40 p.m.
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The Federal Aviation Administration issued an 11-minute ground stop and had to pause some flights on the East Coast that had Raleigh-Durham International Airport as their destination.
The FAA saw a massive spike in unruly passengers on flights as travel started to rebound from the pandemic.
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Nearly 1,100 investigations were opened into unruly passengers in 2021, up from 183 in 2020 and 146 in 2019. The FAA opened 823 cases last year.