Alaska Airlines Flight 769 from Boston to San Diego was forced to divert to Denver midway through its flight Tuesday evening in order to remove a male passenger who was reportedly intoxicated and "became disruptive" after the flight attendants would not let him drink the alcohol he brought with him on the plane.
Passenger Clair Conroy told NBC News that the man in question "was upset the flight attendants would not let him drink the nips [small bottles of alcohol] he brought" on the flight and became abusive as he began to threaten the flight's crew members.
"He was told to calm down by flight crew, and then became agitated and verbally abusive, even issuing a threat to flight crew," airline spokeswoman Ann Zaninovich told NBC News.
Then the man reportedly began to yell, "I'm not a terrorist" and, "We're going to die" as the crew continued to try and calm him down, KMGH-TV reported. He also threatened the crew members and passengers on board, saying that he was going to "cut their throats" with a box cutter.
"It was a little unnerving at first, because he started yelling, 'We're all going to die. You're all going to die.' But then we realized he was just a really drunk guy who was just out of control," Conroy said, according to KMGH.
Because the plane, which was cruising at 32,000 feet, was already more than three hours into its flight, the pilot diverted Flight 769 to the closest airport — Denver International. The decision to do so was was taken "out of an abundance of caution," Zaninovich said, according to NBC News. Immediately upon landing, police officers boarded the plane and escorted the unruly passenger off the plane as fellow passengers in the cabin applauded the officers' efforts.
After an approximately 45-minute delay, the flight resumed its course to San Diego, where it landed around 10:20 p.m. The disruptive passenger's name has not been publicly released, and as of yet, no charges have been pressed against him.
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