Passenger detained for penning ‘threatening’ suicide note aboard plane
A passenger was removed from an Austin-bound flight about to take off from San Francisco after a quick thinking seatmate alerted flight crew to a potential suicide threat.
Passenger Vicki Riffe noticed a man scribbling furiously into a notebook that he planned to kill himself and take others with him.
“He started writing extremely fast — with anger. I was scared to death,” Riffe told the NY Daily News.
After alerting crew, the plane returned to the gate and the man was removed by police.
Sniffer dogs were also deployed in the cabin before it was given the all-clear to fly.
Virgin America confirmed the incident with a statement: “Just after taxi out, a Virgin America flight carrying 108 guests returned to the gate at SFO due to onboard reports from guests concerned about the behavior of a fellow passenger.”
“Preliminary reports indicate that the guest made no threat to the safety of the aircraft or any other passenger onboard.”
After fellow passengers were fully informed of the nature of the hold-up, about a dozen opted not to travel.
The plane then took off about one hour behind schedule and landed in Austin without incident.
San Francisco police said the man is being medically evaluated.