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Woman claims flight crew denied call to suicidal husband after she got troubling text

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GERMANTOWN, Wisc. — A Wisconsin woman says Southwest Airlines refused to let her call her husband after she received a troubling text message shortly before her flight was scheduled to take off.

Last month, Karen Momsen-Evers was flying back to Milwaukee when she received a text message from her husband, Andy, that read, “Karen, please forgive me for what I am about to do, I am going to kill myself…”

“I started shaking the minute I got the text and I was panicked, I didn’t know what to do,” Momsen-Evers told WTMJ, noting that her husband had been stressed recently.

Momsen-Evers responded “no” to the text message and immediately tried to call her husband, but a flight attendant told her to turn the phone off.

“The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now,” she told WTMJ.

Momsen-Evers says she explained the situation but was told it was “FAA regulations” and nothing could be done. Once the flight reached a cruising altitude, she explained the situation to another attendant in hopes of being able to make an emergency phone call during the flight.

“I begged her, I said I’m sure someone can make an emergency phone call,” but she says the woman told her there was nothing she could do.

Momsen-Evers said she sat in her seat and sobbed for the entire flight.

When the plane arrived at the gate, she immediately called police. When she arrived at home, she was met by officers who informed her that her husband had killed himself.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement to WTMJ in response to the incident.

“Our hearts go out to the Evers family during this difficult time. Our 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.”

The airline also offered the woman a full refund.

“The pain of knowing something could have been done, it breaks my heart,” she said.

10 comments

  • ANOTHERBOB

    By the time this woman got this text message he had most likely already offed himself. Does anybody honestly think that he would answer his phone, knowing it was her, after telling her he was killing himself. Had the airline allowed her to call she’d have only gotten his voice mail.

    • Jason Wilcox (@modeerfniatpac)

      If you know anything about suicide then yes he probably would have. That text message was a plea for help, and she was denied being able to give it to him. Had they even notified the pilots and had the pilots alert the authorities he could have probably been saved.

    • MJ Brewer

      If you know anything about suicide, you understand that when someone tells you BEFORE he/she kills himself, it is a cry for help. The call is made so that someone can tell them why it’s a mistake and why. When someone leaves a note to be found later, or no note at all, this usually means the thought cycle is complete and there is no need for discussion, in his opinion. It’s a thought process.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Aren’t ALL calls made BEFORE he/she killers themselves? Nice that you know he probably could have been saved. Telling your wife you about to kill yourself is the height of compassion and love for your spouse.

  • md88

    Why didnt she text someone to call the local police or skip the flight to make the call? How is it always the airline’s fault when someone doesn’t like their rules? That being said, I’m sad for her.

    • fran

      Go back and read the whole story before you throw comments out there. They told her to turn off her phone then slapped it out of her hand as she was attempting to call.

  • MJ Brewer

    “The airline also offered the woman a full refund.” Is this “also” in conjunction with the statement that says “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.”

    Since the woman put the phone away and cried, the passengers were not at risk, therefore there was no need to notify the pilot, in the attendants’ defense. I’m curious as to how much interference a singular phone call could have with the plane. Oh, here you go! http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/cell-phones-interfere-plane-instruments/

    • ANOTHERBOB

      In today’s politically correct world how about putting the sole blame on the shoulders where it belongs. A man decides to kill himself and now you want some airline to be responsible?

      U.S., Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit the use of mobile phones aboard aircraft in flight. Don’t like it MJ Brewer? Write your complaint to the FCC.

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