AMARILLO (AP) – A man was arrested Tuesday after his unruly behavior aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City compelled the flight crew to make an emergency landing in Amarillo.
Ali Reza Shahsavari, 29, of Indialantic, Fla., has been charged with interfering with a flight crew, said Patrick Rhodes, Amarillo’s aviation director. He was booked into the Randall County Jail in Canyon, where he awaited an appearance before a magistrate.
Flight 3683 landed without incident at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, and the man was taken into custody for questioning by federal officials. None of the 136 passengers and five crew members was injured, and the aircraft resumed its flight after a security sweep, said Brad Hawkins, spokesman for the Dallas-based airline.
Initially, authorities said the man had tried to break into the cockpit but Amarillo Aviation Director Patrick Rhodes later said he was “not trying to break into the cockpit, but was unruly and had confronted the cabin crew.”
Passenger Doug Oerding told the Amarillo Globe-News that Shahsavari started screaming obscenities at other passengers during the flight. Attendants attempted to calm Shahsavari and then he went to the bathroom at back of plane and started making a commotion, Oerding said.
“All of us guys were looking at him like are we going to have to do something,” Oerding said.
He said a flight attendant got Shahsavari to calm down. The flight landed and police officers came onto the plane and took him into custody, Oerding said.
Father Mohammad Shahsavari confirmed the suspect was his son and that he understood his son was well, but he did not know what led to the incident.
“I don’t know what to say,” he told The Associated Press from his Indialantic, Fla., home.
The FBI said initial indications were that the incident did not appear to be terrorism related. The passenger’s identity was not immediately released.
“The FBI continues to investigate, but initial indications are that there was no terrorist intent. This guy is a U.S. citizen,” said FBI Special Agent Mark White in Dallas.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)