JetBlue flight diverted over unruly passenger

WASHINGTON – A JetBlue Airways flight from Boston to the Dominican Republic had to land in the Washington, D.C., area Friday afternoon because of an unruly passenger, the company and federal officials said.

Flight 691 was diverted to Washington-Dulles International Airport and landed at 1:13 p.m., JetBlue spokesman Mateo Lleras said.

Lleras said the Transportation Safety Administration and local law enforcement were notified and the passenger was taken into custody. He said he could not be more specific about what the passenger was doing that forced the plane to land.

The passenger may have had an anxiety attack, according to a security official familiar with the incident who spoke on condition of anonymity because there had not been an official medical diagnosis.

Several passengers estimated the woman was in her late teens and said she was acting strangely.

“She began to yell that someone had stolen her money,” Victor Pimentel, 45, told The Associated Press after the plane reached Santo Domingo.

She then asked flight attendants to help her find the money, only to hit one of the male flight attendants with her fists when he approached, Pimentel said.

The woman also spat on one of the attendants, passenger Maria Celon told the AP.

No one became frightened because the attendants acted quickly, said passenger Maria Isabel Martinez, 28. She said attendants moved the woman to another seat, tied her hands with something and calmed her down, she said.

No one was hurt, and the flight took off for Santo Domingo just before 2 p.m.

The passenger was released by mid-afternoon Friday, said airport spokesman Rob Yingling. No charges were filed.

JetBlue was already in the news this week when flight attendant Steven Slater went onto the public address system Monday on a plane at New York’s Kennedy Airport after a flight from Pittsburgh, cursed out a passenger he said had treated him rudely, and then slid off the plane on an emergency slide.

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Associated Press writers Ezequiel Abiu Lopez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Brett Zongker contributed to this report.

The Associated Press