A Wisconsin woman traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight to Milwaukee says that flight attendants forced her to turn her phone off and wouldn’t let her try to stop her husband who was threatening suicide just as the plane was about to take off.
Karen Momsen-Evers was sitting on the runway in New Orleans when, mere minutes before the plane was to lift off, she received a text from her depressed husband who was threatening to kill himself.
But as Momsen-Evers began to call police to try and thwart her husband Andy’s attempt to kill himself, she says that flight attendants refused to allow her to continue her panicked calls. The attendants cited FAA regulations that demand that all cell phones be turned off in flight.
“The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now,” Momsen-Evers said.
Even once in the air, the distraught woman tried to convince the attendants to let her try to call police because her husband was threatening suicide. Still, the attendants refused to allow her any leeway.
“I begged her, I said I’m sure someone can make an emergency phone call,” Momsen-Evers said to no avail.
“I just wanted someone to go and try to save him,” she added. “But nobody helped.”
The woman wasn’t able to get in touch with police until she finally landed in Milwaukee, and by then, it was too late. Her husband had acted on his suicide threat.
“Our hearts go out to the Evers family during this difficult time,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement.
The company went on to explain that flight attendants are supposed to alert the flight crew if there is some life or death situation that might affect the crew or passengers. But, “In this situation, the pilots were not notified,” the airline said apologetically.
The airline offered a refund for the flight but no satisfactory explanation of why the system failed.
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