EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The fear over coronavirus is being felt in Colorado’s mountain communities. That was the case when a United Airlines flight left Eagle County for Newark, New Jersey and was diverted to Denver on Sunday.
Someone on the flight was coughing and sneezing. A few passengers demanded that person be removed from the flight.
“They were trying to get the whole plane to join in with them in what sounded like a riot,” said Jake Futerfas, a passenger on the flight. “The captain gets on the P.A. and says ‘we just hit cruising altitude, however we have a security concern, and we need to divert to Denver.'”
Airline officials told CBS4 one passenger was sneezing due to allergies and was evaluated on the plane. They did not have a fever.
“I asked the flight attendant ‘What was going on?’ They kind of just said there’s a medical issue on board. They didn’t really say much, but all of the flight attendants, they spring into action. Everyone was acting very professionally, very diligently.”
United Airlines officials told CBS4 more than one passenger became disruptive and had to be removed. FBI agents were waiting for the unruly passengers.
“The FBI agents were in the forward galley right near us. Essentially we heard passengers were causing a disturbance. They were concerned about another passenger who wouldn’t listen to the flight attendant directions. They wouldn’t stay in their seat, they sat in the flight attendant’s jumpseat instead.”
Other passengers like Futerfas watched as the crew handled the commotion mid-flight. He says he understands the concern.
“There’s a lot of fear out there. At the end of the day you’ve got to obey the flight attendant and their rules.”
As for the passengers who were removed, the FBI said they would not face charges.
There are now two presumptive positive coronavirus case in Eagle County.