Local

Anxious flyer caught smoking threatens to 'kill everybody' on Sacramento flight, video shows

A 24-year-old woman was arrested Saturday after threatening to kill her fellow passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento.
A 24-year-old woman was arrested Saturday after threatening to kill her fellow passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento. The Tampa Bay Times file

A 24-year-old woman was arrested Saturday after threatening to kill her fellow passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento.

In a video obtained by Portland CBS affiliate KOIN6, a woman in a white hat, sunglasses and a black jacket can be seen profanely berating a flight attendant while collecting her belongings and moves into the aisle.

“I swear, if you don’t (expletive) land, I will (expletive) kill everybody on this (expletive) plane!” she yelled.

Southwest Airlines said the woman, later identified as Valerie Curbelo of Sandy, Ore., had been smoking in the plane’s bathroom after tampering with a smoke detector.

The pilot declared an emergency to receive priority treatment from air traffic control handlers, while the onboard crew “handled the situation” until Curbelo’s arrest after the plane landed, according to a Southwest statement.

“Our reports from flight attendants indicate a customer violated federal laws by both smoking onboard an aircraft and by tampering with a smoke detector in an aircraft restroom. Our Crew enforced the regulation and that was followed by the passenger outburst,” Southwest said. “The safety of our crew and passengers is our top priority and we take all threats seriously.”

In a jailhouse interview with CBS13, Curbelo said she began smoking aboard the plane to counter anxiety, though she declined to elaborate on what was making her anxious.

The average flight time from Portland International Airport to Sacramento International Airport is 1 hour and 23 minutes, according to Flight Sphere. Saturday’s flight had 136 passengers and a five-person crew.

Curbelo was arrested on three felony counts of threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury. She remains in Sacramento County Jail on $75,000 bail ahead of a 1:30 p.m. scheduled arraignment Tuesday.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

  Comments