Last updated: 04:08 PM ET, Thu May 14 2015

Southwest Responds After Denying Passenger Call to Suicidal Husband

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | May 14, 2015

Southwest Responds After Denying Passenger Call to Suicidal Husband

Budget carrier Southwest Airlines has come under fire following a tragic situation.

According to WTMJ 4 News, Southwest passenger Karen Momsen-Evers was flying from New Orleans to Milwaukee when an emergency developed involving her husband back home in southeastern Wisconsin.

Momsen-Evers' husband Andy committed suicide shortly after sending a text message asking for his wife's forgiveness for taking his life. "I started shaking the minute I got the text and I was panicked, I didn't know what to do," Momsen-Evers told WTMJ 4 News.

Even after explaining the severity of the matter, her attempts to call for help from the plane's cabin were shut down by the flight attendant, who said "FAA regulations" required for her phone to be turned off or on airplane mode. 

"The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now," said Momsen-Evers, who claims that she "begged" for assistance. 

Momsen-Evers finally contacted the police upon arrival at the gate in Milwaukee, but was later met by officers who informed her that her husband had died. "The pain of knowing something could have been done, it breaks my heart," Momsen-Evers told the local station. 

"Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time," said Southwest Airlines in a statement issued to WTMJ 4 News. "Flight attendants are trained to notify the captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers on board. In this situation, the pilots were not notified."

It remains to be seen whether the tragic situation will spark an adjustment in training or policy, at Southwest or any other airline for that matter. However, given the strict regulations put forth by the Federal Aviation Administration and other necessary safety precautions, a significant change seems unlikey.

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