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Passenger detained after allegedly opening airplane exit door

A man was caught on the tarmac of New Orleans International Airport after allegedly opening an airplane exit door.
Passenger detained after allegedly opening airplane exit door
Posted at 8:11 AM, Nov 27, 2023

A man was detained on Sunday after allegedly opening a plane's emergency hatch before takeoff at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said. 

The plane was still parked at the terminal and not in motion when the man allegedly opened the over-wing emergency exit door. Officials have not charged the man as of Monday morning. 

The sheriff's office said he was caught on the tarmac and transported to a local hospital for evaluation. 

The case is being referred to federal authorities. 

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Flight Aware reported that the Southwest Airlines flight bound for Atlanta was over 2 hours and 36 minutes late in departing. 

Southwest Airlines said it didn't have any details to share on the incident but stated, "We commend our flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologize to our customers for their inconvenience."

Sunday's incident came on a day when the Transportation Security Administration processed more than 2.9 million passengers nationwide on Sunday, marking the busiest travel day since the start of 2019. 

While incidents like this are rare, there have been some similar occurrences this year. In May, a Delta Air Lines passenger allegedly opened one of the plane's doors and slid down the emergency exit slide at Los Angeles International Airport. 

Delta said in a statement that the plane was waiting to taxi for takeoff when the passenger "exited the aircraft."

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