Southwest Airlines passenger arrested after threatening to kill everyone on flight

SACRAMENTO -- A woman was arrested and charged after she threatened to kill fellow passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento. The chaotic scene was captured on video that a fellow passenger sent to CBS Sacramento.

The incident on Saturday began after a woman attempted to smoke in the airplane bathroom and alter the smoke detector, according to airline officials.

The passenger who shot the video said the woman was ordered back to her seat but began yelling irrationally, threatening to kill everyone on board, and demanding that the plane land. He said she pushed a flight attendant and had to be physically restrained by passengers and crew for the remaining 30 minutes of the flight.

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."

Curbelo is from Sandy, Oregon, just outside of Portland. She wouldn't discuss why she was flying to Sacramento.

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