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Woman says flight attendant barred call to suicidal husband

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MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin woman says a Southwest Airlines flight attendant barred her from calling her husband after he sent her a suicidal text, and she's wondering if more could have been done to save his life.

Karen Momsen-Evers said she got a text from her husband moments before her April 3 flight left New Orleans. The text had asked for her forgiveness, and said he was going to take his life.

"I started shaking the minute I got the text and I was panicked, I didn't know what to do," she told WTMJ-TV for a story this week. She texted her husband back, and told him "no," and was about to call him when a flight attendant stopped her, citing Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

"The steward slapped the phone down and said, 'You need to go on airplane mode now,'" Momsen-Evers told the television station.

Another flight attendant denied her request to make a call once the flight was cruising, she said.

Momsen-Evers said she was allowed to call police once she arrived at the gate in Milwaukee. When she got home, officers met her at her house and said her husband was dead.

"I go to sleep at night thinking what could I have done, what should I have done," Momsen-Evers told WTMJ-TV.

In a statement provided Friday to The Associated Press, Southwest Airlines said it was unable to share details about the situation, but extends "our deepest condolences."

The airline said flight attendants are responsible for executing safety procedures for departure and arrival in accordance with FAA regulations, while assisting passengers.

Southwest told the television station the "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's statement said it's not uncommon for crew members to help passengers with life events, and employees handle situations to the best of their ability.


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