KOVR reported that the witness who recorded the video said the woman, Valerie Curbelo, 24, was caught smoking in the bathroom of the plane and attempted to interfere with the smoke detector. She was told to go back to her seat when she began yelling and making threats. According to the witness, Curbelo had to be restrained by crew members for the last 30 minutes flight, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.
Curbelo was arrested by law enforcement at the gate. She was booked into the Saramento County Jail and making criminal threats.
Curbelo spoke to KOVR from her jail cell. She said she smoked because she was anxious, but she did not provides and explanation for the threat she is accused of making, or what she was anxious about.
“I don’t know,” Curbelo, who is from Sandy, Oregon, said. “It was not me. It was not me.”
Curbelo wouldn’t say why she was flying to Sacramento.
Southwest airlines provided a statement to KOIN on the incident:
"Our Crew in command of Flight 2943 traveling from Portland on Saturday afternoon safely landed on-time in Sacramento following an inflight disturbance. 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. The safety of our Crew and Passengers is our top priority and we take all threats seriously. The Pilots declared an emergency to receive priority handling from air traffic controllers, and our Crew handled the situation onboard until the plane landed and local authorities stepped in. The flight carried 136 Customers and a Crew of five."
The Sacramento Bee reported that Curbelo has an arraignment Tuesday afternoon.