Teen who jumped from plane at SFO unlikely to face charges

Wednesday, August 02, 2017 07:01PM
A teenager who opened a plane's emergency door and jumped from the wing at San Francisco International Airport is unlikely to face charges, according to authorities familiar with the investigation.


SAN FRANCISCO - A teenager who opened a plane's emergency door and jumped from the wing at San Francisco International Airport is unlikely to face charges, according to authorities familiar with the investigation.

It is a violation of federal law to open a plane's emergency door without crew member instruction, and that's exactly what the 17-year-old boy did when the Copa Airlines flight landed at SFO Tuesday.

As the pilot radioed the control tower and passengers watched in surprise. Airport officials say the teen jumped out and slid down the wing onto the tarmac.

RELATED: Passengers say teen who jumped from plane at SFO was 'anxious, fidgety'

He was quickly detained and taken to a hospital near the airport.

The boy is a Bay Area resident and U.S. citizen flying alone.

Passengers say he looked fidgety and distraught throughout the flight.

Law enforcement sources say he's getting mental health evaluations, and that's likely where the case will end.

They say there's no evidence this was terror-related, and no contraband was found.

This case is the first of its kind at SFO, prompting new safety and security questions.

"Now security officials for airports and airlines are going to consider, what are some of the precautions they have to take to make sure somebody isn't doing this, and that may include having some sort of trigger on the emergency exit," Steve Gomez said.

The incident happened onboard Copa flight 208 from Panama City.

The Panamanian airliner has confirmed the teen was sitting in the exit row, which is permitted if you're at least 15 years old.
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