Mexican Authorities Escort Centralia Man From Plane After Incident on Cancun Tarmac

Mexican Authorities Escort Centralia Man From Plane After Incident on Cancun Tarmac

CANCUN, Mexico — This story first came to our attention through a prayer request on social media for a Centralia man believed to be missing in Mexico.

Further investigation into the matter, however, revealed it began as an incident on a plane in Cancun, Mexico bound for St. Louis that involved an apparent outburst by Tommy Gray, of Centralia, that led to him being escorted from the plane by Mexican authorities and being transported from the tarmac by ambulance.

According to Frontier Airlines, Frontier flight 87 was leaving Cancun for St. Louis on October 22, when a passenger said he was feeling ill and became agitated. Passengers identified that passenger as Gray and they say he began kicking and pounding on the cockpit door.

The airline says it decided to return the plane to the gate, but that as the plane was returning the passenger became physically violent with a flight attendant and opened a cabin door, which automatically deployed the emergency slide.

Passenger Kathleen Ingham says Gray then attempted to exit the aircraft, but crew members and other passengers restrained him until authorities arrived.

Daniel Schreiner, one of the passengers who restrained Gray says Gray was complaining of extreme stomach pain and that it was clear there was a problem.

He says, however, that Gray had grabbed the plane’s phone up front so there was no way for the flight attendants to communicate with the pilot or other attendants.

Schreiner says a very brave man put himself between Tommy and the opened door, which placed him in the most danger.

He and other passengers praised Frontier’s response to the incident noting they had to find transportation and accommodations for 225 people, remove their bags, and get them back through customs and on a new flight the next day.

Frontier says Mexican officials transported Gray off the plane for a medical evaluation.

The U.S. Consul for Mexico says it is looking into the incident. Sources indicate Gray’s family has located him and he is no longer considered missing.

According to Schreiner, Gray was at one point sitting in the front seat of the ambulance and on several occasions attempted to walk off but police escorted him back. He says Gray finally left in the ambulance.

Passengers on the flight have started a Frontier Flight 87 Facebook page and are asking for stronger security measures surrounding the ability to open the cabin door on planes.

The airline is offering passengers $100 vouchers for future travel as compensation for their experience.