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Hollering Man Spurs Pilot to Divert JetBlue Flight

A hollering, agitated passenger who ignored pleas to calm down spurred a pilot to divert a New York-to-Las Vegas JetBlue plane to Detroit over the weekend, according to the airline and a passenger's video.

Flight 211 was headed west from New York's Kennedy Airport when the passenger became unruly, and the captain decided to land in Detroit at around 8:30 a.m. Saturday out of "an abundance of caution," JetBlue Airways Corp. said in statement Sunday.

FBI Detroit spokesman David Porter said it's unknown whether the man will face criminal charges, but said the episode "did not rise to the level of threatening the aircraft." He said, "Flight attendants were able to get a handle on the situation relatively quickly."

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Passengers said the outburst erupted suddenly.

IMAGE: JetBlue airplanes at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
JetBlue airplanes at their gates at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Nov. 27. Seth Wenig / AP, file

Authorities in Detroit took him into custody, JetBlue said. Porter said that he couldn't discuss the man's whereabouts Sunday but that he wasn't in FBI custody.

After about two hours in Detroit, the plane went on to Las Vegas, arriving at around 11:30 a.m., JetBlue said.

The episode unfolded five days after a woman was nearly kicked off a JetBlue flight after her 3-year-old daughter urinated in her seat because the flight crew wouldn't let her use the bathroom while the plane was on the tarmac in New York, according to an account the mother gave Boston's WBZ-TV.

The woman, Jennifer Deveraux, said that when she got up to clean the mess, a flight attendant reported her to the pilot, who announced that the Boston-bound plane was returning to the gate to bring an out-of-order passenger to security officials. She said she ultimately was allowed to stay aboard.

JetBlue later apologized, she said; the airline said employees would undergo sensitivity training, the station reported.

- Associated Press