Man makes threats on Delta flight, plane escorted to Tucson

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 12:19:33-04

A Delta flight was escorted to Tucson International Airport after a man made alleged threats. The plane was headed from San Antonio to Los Angeles.

According to Ryan Healey, a male passenger aboard the Delta flight was escorted off the plane by authorities. Healey was told by a flight attendant the man made a verbal threat to the aircraft.

A passenger on board the flight that went through an emergency diversion -- complete with an F-16 escort, gave ABC15's sister station in Tucson, KGUN9, an inside view of what went on on the flight.

Ryan Healy sent KGUN9 video of Tucson Airport Authority Police Deparrment arresting the man who prompted the diversion and removing him from the plane. He talked by phone with KGUN9 On Your Side's Craig Smith and gives us a good idea of what went on in the plane.
Healy was on a business trip, when he was caught up in a situation so wild he looked out the window and saw F-16s out his airliner window.
Craig Smith asked: What's that experience like?
Healy says:  "It's a little harrowing.  Definitely not something you want to see when you're trying to get home. (he laughs)"
He remembers the man whose behavior triggered the emergency landing.
“We noticed a guy who was walking up and down the aisles and he was obviously very anxious and uncomfortable and then we noticed the flight attendants trying to direct him back to his seat unsuccessfully.”
He says he and his seat mate kept an eye on the man.  
Right about then he saw an alert online that the flight was diverting to Tucson.
Craig Smith asked:  "Were you able to hear what the man was saying? 
Healy: “No.  But I did talk to a flight attendant who told me he made threats against the aircraft."
Healy says the flight crew did not tell the passengers what was going on.
"There was some kind of announcement about potential for turbulence and we should all fasten our seatbelts but we knew there was no turbulence and it was something else.  The captain eventually came on and told we were being diverted to Tucson due to an operational necessity but otherwise there was no indication from the crew what was actually happening."
He says the man was up front near the flight deck but did not try to get in.
An older man we later saw during the arrest tried to convince the man to sit down but couldn't.  Healy says he and his seatmate guided the pair to their seats.