A Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento on Saturday afternoon was disrupted by a woman who chose to smoke in-flight on the aircraft. Upon being called out for the violation of flight policy, she threatened to kill everyone on the plane.
A fellow passenger sent a video of the incident to CBS13.
The incident began after a woman attempted to smoke in the airplane bathroom and alter the smoke detector, according to airline officials.
The man who shot the video said the woman was ordered back to her seat but began yelling irrationally, threatening to kill everyone on board, and demanding that the plane land.
In the video clip (see below), Curbelo told flight attendants, “I swear, if you don’t f–king land, I will f–king kill everybody on this f–king plane! I will kill everybody on this f–king plane!”
[The passenger who recorded the video] says she pushed a flight attendant and had to be physically restrained by passengers and crew for the remaining 30 minutes of the flight.
Law enforcement officers were waiting at the gate and arrested 24-year-old Valerie Curbelo on the spot.
Curbelo is an Oregon resident, hailing from Sandy, located just outside Portland. She was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and charged with making criminal threats. Her bail was set at $75,000, according to WREG News.
CBS13 sent reporter Marc Thompson to the county jail, where he interviewed Curbelo to get her side of the story.
When asked why she smoked in the bathroom, Curbelo answered, “The anxiety, yeah the anxiety.” She reportedly did not give a reason for her “anxiety,” would not discuss why she was flying to Sacramento and offered no valid reason for the outburst.
“You were saying some pretty threatening things like you were going to kill everybody on the plane. Why did you say that?” Thompson asked.
“I don’t know,” Curbelo replied. “It was not me. It was not me.”
Southwest Airlines released the following statement:
“Our Crew in command of Flight 2943 traveling from Portland on Saturday afternoon safely landed on-time in Sacramento following an inflight disturbance. Our reports from Flight Attendants indicate a Customer violated federal laws by both smoking onboard an aircraft and by tampering with a smoke detector in an aircraft restroom. Our Crew enforced the regulation and that was followed by the passenger outburst. The safety of our Crew and Passengers is our top priority and we take all threats seriously. The Pilots declared an emergency to receive priority handling from air traffic controllers, and our Crew handled the situation onboard until the plane landed and local authorities stepped in. The flight carried 136 Customers and a Crew of five.”
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