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A teenager traveling on Copa Airlines Flight 208 from Panama City (PTY) opened the plane’s emergency door and slid down the wing onto the tarmac shortly after landing in San Francisco (SFO) on Tuesday.
The unidentified 17-year-old, a US citizen, was confronted by an airfield construction crew and subsequently arrested by police, according to airport spokesman Doug Yakel who told the Washington Post.
Matt Crowder, a passenger on the flight, told NBC that people sitting near the exit row began to shout when the boy jumped out. He said, “They were yelling, ‘Tell the flight attendants. Relay the message back. The door’s open. Someone jumped off.”
In a statement shared later, Copa Airlines said:
“The incident occurred a few minutes after landing, while the aircraft was taxiing to the gate. A Copa crew member closed the exit door, and the aircraft proceeded to the gate where all other passengers and crew disembarked safely.”
Fortunately, no other passengers or flights were disrupted by the bizarre (but not uncommon) door opening. In the event of an emergency, exit doors are designed to be opened by passengers, but it is against federal law to open them without the consent of a crew member.
Here’s the transcript between the air traffic controller and the pilots in the cockpit on Copa Airlines Flight 208:
Tower: “Copa 208, go ahead.”
Pilot 1: “Sir, we are in the cockpit and the flight crew told us that we have an over-wing exit that is open and a passenger trying to get off through the wing… that’s correct? Can you see that from the tower?”
Pilot 2: “1638, we can confirm that, there was a gentleman approximately on the Tango taxiway there, when we exited with no vest on.”
The boy, who was described as “anxious and fidgety” by fellow passengers, was reportedly traveling alone on the flight and was eventually taken to a local hospital before being taken into custody by law enforcement.
H/T: Washington Post
Featured Image Courtesy of Getty Images.
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