Southwest plane forced back to LAX after man chokes female passenger

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LOS ANGELES – A physical fight between passengers over a reclined seat forced a Southwest Airlines flight back to Los Angeles Sunday night, according to officials.

FBI agents were waiting for the plane at LAX, where they removed one person, according to spokeswoman Melissa Ford.  It’s not clear if that person was arrested.

The pilot of the San Francisco-bound flight decided to return shortly after takeoff because of a “rapidly escalating” situation that became physical, Smith said.

Witnesses told NBC News the fight started when a woman reclined her seat and the man sitting behind her became enraged and began choking her.

The 136 passengers endured a five-hour delay caused by the altercation.


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