Southwest Airlines says it all started with a cigarette. A passenger was smoking in the bathroom somewhere between Portland and Sacramento on Saturday, according to the airline, and had gone so far as to tamper with the smoke detector.
A passenger told the station that the woman was removed from the plane’s bathroom when people discovered she was smoking inside. The witness then said the woman removed an oxygen mask from the plane as she became “more uncontrollable.”
“I have a destination for this. I have a destination for myself. And I need to go there,” the woman can be heard saying to a female flight attendant in footage provided to KOIN. "I swear, if you land, I will kill everybody on this fucking plane,” she shouted. “I will kill everybody on this fucking plane!” At the end of the video, a man in a blue shirt is seen hurrying toward the woman and physically forcing her back into her seat.
Valerie Curbelo, 24, was arrested at the gate when the plane landed, and she was taken to Sacramento County Jail and charged with making criminal threats.
Southwest Airlines sent a statement to CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV saying 136 customers were onboard the flight, which landed safely following the incident. The company said a passenger "violated federal laws by both smoking onboard an aircraft and by tampering with a smoke detector in an aircraft restroom."
Speaking to CBS Sacramento, Curbelo said her anxiety led to her decision to smoke in the restroom. "The anxiety, yeah the anxiety," Curbelo said without elaborating. She did not explain why she threatened to kill everyone. "I don't know," she said. "It was not me. It was not me."
Ms Curbelo is currently being held at Sacramento County Main Jail with no release date currently detailed.