Indianapolis-to-NY Flight Diverted
CLEVELAND (AP) _ A small jet bound for New York was diverted to Cleveland on Friday to get rid of a passenger authorities say angrily refused to put out his cigarette and muttered words including the World Trade Center.
The flight, a Delta connection operated by Atlantic Coast Airlines, was carrying 18 passengers and three crew members from Indianapolis to LaGuardia airport.
Rick DeLisi, spokesman for Atlantic Coast Airlines, said the passenger lit a cigarette in the cabin and wouldn’t put it out.
``The man became verbally abusive and lit up yet another cigarette and continued to be verbally abusive,″ DeLisi said. ``The crew decided at that point because they were over Cleveland to divert to Cleveland.″
The passenger, whose name was not released, was a 35-year-old French man with a history of mental problems, said Natalia Martinovic, spokeswoman for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
She said the man made passengers nervous with erratic behavior that included changing seats several times.
``He mentioned the World Trade Center on the flight. We don’t know in what context it was used,″ Martinovic said.
A flight attendant and another passenger _ an off-duty New York police officer _ subdued the man, she said. No one was hurt.
Authorities removed the man at the terminal and his bags were removed from the plane. The flight resumed shortly thereafter.
The man was in the custody of Cleveland police and was undergoing a psychological evaluation at a hospital, Martinovic said.