Off-duty officer subdues Southwest passenger trying to open exit door mid-flight

HOUSTON — A Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Houston had to be diverted to Corpus Christi Sunday afternoon when a disruptive passenger tried to open the emergency exit with the plane in the air.

"She had taken her seat. We took off. As soon as the seat belt sign came off, she had gotten up, started pacing the aisle back and forth-- going backwards," fellow passenger and off-duty Cleveland ISD police officer Pamela Minchew said.

According to witnesses, the flight attendants put the woman in the back of the plane, but an hour into the flight, things got worse.

"She was being combative to the flight attendants, being very argumentative with them," Minchew said. "They were still being very professional."

The woman then started passing out napkins to the passengers asking for money and for help— then she completely lost it.

"Went for the exit door, pulled the clear plastic piece off," Minchew said. "And then at that point I just recall jumping up, self-identifying- and then at that point, she had went down."

Thanks to this quick-acting cop-- the crazed passenger was subdued.

When the plane diverted to Corpus Christi, local police pulled the woman off the plane.

Then, the pilot asked for applause for Officer Minchew who helped saved the day.

"It was very scary!" Minchew said. "Very, very scary in the heat of the moment, but after everything had calmed down-- everybody was fine."

All thanks to a quick-thinking hero in the sky.