Augustan helps subdue woman on flight

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 7:27 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:47 PM
  • Follow Latest News

Jet lag is usually Jody Keepers' worst complaint when he flies across the country for work.

On Sunday night, he came home with a pair of skinned knees and assorted bruises.

Keepers, 40, logs a lot of hours in the air as a caddie on the LPGA Tour. On Sunday, he was headed home to Augusta via a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

About 3 a.m., he was awakened by a ruckus coming from the back of the plane. About that time the pilot announced an emergency landing over the intercom.
Keepers looked back toward the rear of the plane in time to see a flight attendant take a tumble down the aisle. Two male passengers were moving in on the culprit: an angry woman standing in the aisle screaming.

Acting on "instinct," Keepers said he immediately rushed to the back of the plane to help. The fracas was in a wide spot in the aisle near two emergency exits. Keepers feared she would open one of those doors.

"I didn't want anything to happen," he said Tuesday by phone.

With the help of the other passengers, the woman was pinned to the floor of the plane. But she still had plenty of fight in her. Keepers said he grabbed an arm and her head and held on. Several times the woman tried to bite him.

"It was pretty intense for a few minutes," he said.

Eventually they were able to lift the woman off the aisle, handcuff her and lead her to the rear of the jet, where they cinched her tight into a seat. Within minutes the plane landed in Omaha, Neb., and local authorities boarded.

Marie Rita Manzoni was charged Tuesday with interfering with a flight crew, a federal charge, The Associated Press reported. According to court papers, United Airlines Flight 142 was diverted to Omaha about 5 a.m. Monday after Manzoni, who screamed about terrorists on board, was subdued by passengers.

The Boeing 757 was carrying 148 passengers and six crew members. Manzoni was returning to her home in Maryland, the AP said.

Keepers wasn't exactly sure what set off the woman. He said another passenger told him that she made some sort of threat about blowing up the plane. When he tackled her to the floor, he said, she was shouting: "I love my country. I don't want to hurt anyone."

Another passenger, Lauren Airey, told Omaha  television station WOWT that a flight attendant was trying to subdue the passenger after an argument turned into a fight. She said other passengers took charge and "dog-piled" the woman.

A spokeswoman for United Airlines said in an e-mail that the flight was "diverted to Omaha for assistance from the authorities," who  took over when the plane landed. She gave no other details.

Keepers, a caddie for 15 years, told himself after Sept. 11 that he would take action if his plane was ever hijacked. He said he felt no hesitation when he saw the situation unfolding.

"It was a shot of adrenaline," said Keepers. "Now I know how cops feel."

Comments (7) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Just My Opinion
5850
Points
Just My Opinion 03/30/10 - 09:14 pm
0
0
Wow! Good for those folks

Wow! Good for those folks that were willing to jump in (literally!) and help subdue the person! We owe them alot of thanks. Jody Keepers, we're very proud of you!

Dixieman
15896
Points
Dixieman 03/30/10 - 09:26 pm
0
0
Kudos to him. Reminds me of

Kudos to him. Reminds me of the heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11.

gaspringwater
3
Points
gaspringwater 03/30/10 - 09:31 pm
0
0
It said the woman was

It said the woman was shouting: "I love my country." A real patriot. Albeit a little misguided but many are.

morris0207
0
Points
morris0207 03/30/10 - 09:37 pm
0
0
Jody- If you read this, I was

Jody- If you read this, I was the other guy who brought her down. I was the one sitting on top of her and wrestling her left arm. Not sure if United has contacted you yet, but please let me know if they do. I had to get off in Omaha because my wife had a panic attack (it was only her second flight - ever). I knew something was wrong with that woman when she kept hitting the FA call button.

sf
0
Points
sf 03/31/10 - 12:37 am
0
0
Morris: I was the guy behind

Morris: I was the guy behind you holding her legs. United did contact Jody and me with a nice thank-you gift and they should have one for you too. You did an amazing job up there.

sf
0
Points
sf 03/31/10 - 12:37 am
0
0
Morris: I was the guy behind

Morris: I was the guy behind you holding her legs. United did contact Jody and me with a nice thank-you gift and they should have one for you too. You did an amazing job up there.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs