ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A US Airways flight to Los Angeles was diverted to Albuquerque after a passenger removed all of his clothing mid-flight, forcing to cover him with a blanket before he was arrested. Keith Wright, 50, of the Bronx in New York, was taken into custody by airport authorities after he allegedly disrobed while sitting in his seat in the back of Flight 705 on Tuesday evening, authorities said.
The plane carrying about 148 passengers from Charlotte to Los Angeles landed in Albuquerque about 6:45 p.m., US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said.
Wright was unresponsive when asked by a flight attendant to put his clothes back on, said Dan Jiron, a spokesman for the Albuquerque airport. Authorities suspect the passenger may have been drunk or on prescription drugs.
"She asked him on more than one occasion to put on his clothes. She covered him with a blanket and he took that off," Jiron said.
Wright allegedly became combative when flight attendants tried to cover him with the blanket and fasten his seat belt, the FBI said Wednesday in a news release.
Two off-duty law officers who were passengers on the flight helped the flight attendants subdue and handcuff Wright before the flight landed, Jiron said.
Passenger Ginny Keegan of Detroit was sitting in the front of the plane.
"All of a sudden there was a bunch of activity and a lot of loud things going on and all of a sudden people started getting out of their seats in the back of the plane," she said. (Let's get the party going!)
Passengers were notified of a violent passenger as the plane began to approach Albuquerque, but Keegan said no one was fearful. (He must have been packin' some pretty serious stuff)
"No one was really panicking. The flight attendants seemed to handle it very well," she said. (I'm sure they were...wink, wink)
She said the man was "completely naked" as he was taken in handcuffs off the plane. (that's "nekked" to you, maam)
As the plane took off again, Keegan said the usual announcement to please fasten your seat belts came over the loudspeakers with a twist.
The message included "a reminder to everybody to please keep your clothing on. It got a couple chuckles," Keegan said. (aw shucks)
The flight attendants also were dealing with an unrelated onboard medical emergency at the same time, which exacerbated the situation, the FBI said.
Wright is in federal custody on a federal charge of interfering with flight crew members and attendants. He is expected to appear in federal court in Albuquerque on Thursday. (for carrying a concealed weapon, maybe?)
It was not immediately known if Wright has a lawyer.