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

Posted at 1:55 PM, May 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-15 15:55:16-04

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.