- The accused passenger allegedly activated the emergency exit slide of the Boeing 737
- The passenger went down the slide just as the Delta flight was pushing away from the gate
- After initially being detained, the passenger was arrested by law enforcement officials
A Delta flight passenger allegedly opened an exit door of an aircraft and went down the emergency exit slide before takeoff.
The suspect was initially detained at the airport and then arrested for delaying the flight.
The incident took place aboard Delta Flight 1714 traveling from the Los Angeles International Airport to Seattle on Saturday, CNN reported.
The Boeing 737 was on the runway and preparing for takeoff at around 10:40 a.m. local time when the passenger opened the emergency exit and deployed the emergency slide, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, as per the outlet.
The passenger is accused of sliding down the activated emergency slide just as the plane was pushing away from the gate.
“Due to the circumstances, FBI has been notified,” Los Angeles Airport Police (LAAP) Captain Karla Rodriguez reportedly said, as per CBS News. “The aircraft was returned to a gate and passengers are in the process of being deplaned in order to be transported in another aircraft so that they can continue with their flight plans.”
Delta staff initially detained the accused passenger, who was later arrested by law enforcement officials.
The airline released a statement following the incident.
“Delta flight 1714 operating from Los Angeles to Seattle returned to the gate due to an unruly passenger,” the statement read, according to CBS News. “The aircraft was holding to taxi for takeoff when the passenger exited the aircraft and was initially detained by Delta staff ahead of being arrested by local law enforcement. Customers are being re-accommodated on a new aircraft and we apologize for the inconvenience and delay in their travel plans.”
Gillian Sheldon, who was traveling on the same flight, said the accused passenger ran to the emergency exit before takeoff.
“He clearly was agitated, or nervous or anxious or freaked out about something,” Sheldon told NBC Los Angeles.
Sheldon also said the passenger ignored orders from the cabin crew.
“She looked at him and said ‘you need to go back to your seat,’ and he said ‘what do I do now,’ and turned and grabbed the door,” he continued. “She said, ‘you cannot open the door’ and grabbed him and within two seconds he opened the door.”
The incident continues to be investigated.
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