Panic Ensues After Southwest Airlines Passenger Opens Emergency Door

A passenger aboard Southwest Airlines was recently arrested and hospitalized after he allegedly opened the emergency door and climbed onto the plane’s wings shortly before takeoff.

Videos of the incident surfaced online, showing passengers in a frenzy after the man decided to open the plane’s emergency exit and jump down, proceeding to run across the tarmac, as reported by WWL-TV. The man then tried to steal a taxi vehicle and drive it away, according to the outlet.

The Jefferson Parish Sherrif’s Office has confirmed that the man had been arrested for opening the emergency door and running out on the tarmac at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, according to the New York Post.

In a statement, the office said that “a passenger opened an emergency exit and got onto the wing while the plane was still at the skyway and had not pushed back.”

“The plane was not moving at the time. He was caught on the tarmac, and transported to a local hospital for evaluation,” the statement added, per Fox News.

Jefferson Parish Sherrif’s Office said the man is currently receiving treatment at a hospital, presumably psychological, and no criminal charges have been filed against him.

As a result of the man’s actions, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 Southwest Airlines plane departed New Orleans about three hours after its scheduled time, Business Insider reported.

Southwest Airlines released a statement following the incident.

“We commend our flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologize to our customers for their inconvenience,” the airline company said.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport told Newsweek the following regarding the matter: “There was an incident yesterday involving a Southwest Airlines passenger’s unauthorized deplaning of the aircraft. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident.”

The recent incident in New Orleans was not the first time that a passenger had jumped out of a plane’s emergency door.

In July 2023, a man tried to avoid arrest by climbing out of an emergency hatch from one of Sun Country Airlines’ planes. The man was able to hide in a nearby truck for 45 minutes before he was arrested.

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