NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Delta flight operated by Republic Airways landed at LaGuardia Airport on Friday after a passenger tried to open a door to the plane while in flight.

According to passengers on the flight, a woman in her 20s appeared to behave in a “suicidal” manner and tried to open a door as the flight approached New York after its departure from Raleigh, North Carolina.

A law enforcement source told CBS2 the distraught passenger was a 20-year-old woman attending college in the South who was the victim of a crime and was being accompanied by her father to New York.

An aviation source said the woman tried to open the forward service door but the flight was never in danger as that door could not be opened in flight.

A live air traffic control transmission captured the moment the pilot declared an emergency.

“We would like to declare an emergency, the forward service door has been opened,” said the pilot. “We’ll need crash and fire rescue.”

Moments later the pilot updated their status.

“Cancel the crash fire rescue, we just had a disturbed passenger, mentally disturbed passenger, trying to open the forward door,” he said. “Everything’s under control now. We’re going to be taxing to the gate.”

Passenger Stacy Herbert posted about the incident as it happened on her Twitter account.

“Her father pulled her from door,” posted Herbert. “She was screaming her head off that she needed to open the door and die.”

“I wasn’t scared as I knew the door could not be opened but her shrieks were terrifying,” she added later. “And she was sitting behind us so when she was pulled back to her seat it was awful to see her suicidal distress.”

Once on the ground, the woman was taken off the plane. None of the passengers or flight crew were reported to have suffered any injuries.

After the incident, Port Authority police took statements from the passengers.


It was not clear if the woman ever reached the door before being restrained on the flight.

After the plane landed about 1:45 p.m., passengers were allowed into the terminal for statements. The plane, itself, remained in service and left LaGuardia bound for St. Louis at around 3:40 p.m.

Stay with CBS New York on this developing story.

Comments (6)
  1. Ed McCarthy says:

    The other passengers kept yelling “Melania, sit down, it’ll all be over soon”

  2. A law needs to be passed that anyone who disrupts air travel will be libel for reimbursing the airline for all of their costs, and every passenger who had several hours of their lives taken from them, never to be recovered. 50 bucks per hour per person. And put on a no fly list. As in never again allowed to fly commercial. Ever. If you don’t have the mental ability to sit quietly for a couple of hours, then you don’t get to fly. Flying is not a right.

  3. Wait a minute, the pilot didn’t know that the door physically cannot be opened in flight and transmitted a hysterical message? Talk about situational awareness…

  4. Sad to think what sort of crime she endured if that is what caused her to be suicidal.

  5. Steve Secord says:

    “A Delta flight operated by Republic Airways was forced to return to LaGuardia Airport “…….”tried to open a door as the flight approached New York after its departure from Raleigh, North Carolina.”

    What ‘tard wrote this???

  6. Fred Turk says:

    Pro wrestling great Mad Dog Vachon wanted some fresh air on a flight years ago and he actually managed to open the door. No lives lost but much luggage flew out. True story. I know the daughter of the pilot.

Leave a Reply