A 57-year-old United Airlines passenger was arrested after opening the emergency exit and walking out onto the plane’s wing while it was taxiing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to media reports. United Airlines flight 2478, coming from San Diego, was involved in the incident.
The man from California was taken into custody, CNN reported. “A male subject was onboard a plane that was approaching the gate when he pulled the emergency exit and walked out onto the wing of the plane,” according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
“The subject then slid down the wing and onto the airfield,” Chicago Police added. Randy Frank Davila has been charged with reckless conduct, according to Chicago police.
United Airlines said the ground crew stopped the individual outside the aircraft. When the plane arrived at the gate, all passengers deported safely, according to a statement from the airline. Police said he was taken into custody “without incident” and charged with misdemeanor. He will appear in court on June 27, CBS News reported.
The charges come as unruly passengers continue to disrupt flights, with some even trying to open doors mid-flight. In February, an American Airlines flight attendant had to hit a man with a coffee pot after he tried to open the passenger door mid-flight.
In April, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its largest-ever fines: USD 81,950 for a passenger who allegedly hit a flight attendant, tried to open a cabin door, and headbutted and tried to kick crew members and passengers; and USD 77,272 for a woman who allegedly tried to “exit during flight” and repeatedly bit another passenger, the report added.
The FAA received more than 5,500 reports of unruly behavior last year, and the spike in passenger outbursts has prompted some airlines to develop internal ban lists.
(With inputs from PTI)