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Southwest flight bound for Ohio diverted to Little Rock after assault

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A flight headed to Ohio from Houston was diverted to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon after an alleged assault on the aircraft, authorities said.

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According to the FBI, Southwest Airlines Flight 192, which was headed to Columbus, Ohio, made an emergency landing at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, KARK-TV reported.

One passenger was hospitalized, according to KTHV-TV. Another was removed from the aircraft and is facing federal charges, KARK reported.

The aircraft, which originated from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, landed in Little Rock at 3:35 p.m. CST, KHOU-TV reported.

“The FBI is the primary federal agency authorized to investigate potential assault aboard aircraft violations,” FBI spokesperson Connor Hagan wrote in an email to NBC News. “We will work closely with the prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas to thoroughly investigate this incident and potentially bring federal charges.”

Officials have not revealed what led to the alleged assault. The suspect’s identity and the charges that might be filed were not immediately provided, according to CBS News.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said a passenger had been “unruly.”

“Flight 192 traveling from Houston to Columbus followed protocol and safely diverted to Little Rock after our crew observed unruly behavior from a passenger midflight,” the airline said in its statement. “Local authorities in Little Rock met the flight upon landing and removed the customer from the flight.”

Passengers exhibiting disruptive behavior on flights remains an issue, KHOU reported. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 5,981 incidents in 2021. This year’s total stands at 2,178 incidents and 760 investigations, the television station reported.

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