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Plane Makes Emergency Landing After 'Unruly Passenger' Triggers Level 4 Threat American Airlines flight 3444 was headed towards Washington, D.C., but made an emergency stop in Raleigh, North Carolina.

By Emily Rella

Pandemic-related air travel precautions and restrictions really seemed to bring out the worst in people. But although most airlines (especially in the U.S.) have returned to pre-COVID regulations, some passengers are still finding ways to misbehave.

Such was the case for one passenger who reportedly tried to breach the cockpit on an American Airlines flight that was set to land in Washington, D.C., and caused the plane to make an emergency landing in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"Flight to DC diverted to another airport midflight for unruly passenger," Tweeted passenger Jim Wynn from the plane. "Greeting party including FBI looks friendly. Whew #lucky."

The flight departed from Jacksonville, Florida around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and landed in Raleigh around 3:40 p.m.

The pilot, who made the call via Air Traffic control, reported the incident as a Level 4 threat, the highest possible level which codes for an "attempted or actual breach of the flight deck" with examples of such a threat being "mentally disturbed individuals" and "goal-oriented hijackers."

"FAA is investigating an unruly passenger on a flight that landed safely at RDU," the Federal Aviation Agency said via social media.

American Airlines said that the plane landed at Raleigh Durham International Airport's Gate C9 where law enforcement then boarded the plane and took the suspect into custody, per CNN.

According to the outlet, the unidentified passenger (who was reportedly a woman suffering from a panic attack) ran at the door of the cockpit unsuccessfully without breaching it. The woman will face an "airport obstruction" charge in North Carolina.

"The FBI is currently conducting interviews to gather the facts and will consult with the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of North Carolina to determine if federal charges will be filed," an FBI spokesperson told Fox Business.

The investigation is currently pending.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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