Southwest passenger jumps out of emergency door onto tarmac at New Orleans airport

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Southwest passenger jumps out of emergency door onto tarmac
A Southwest passenger jumps out of an emergency exit door and onto the tarmac of the New Orleans airport in what police called a mental health episode

NEW ORLEANS -- A Southwest Airlines passenger is hospitalized after opening an emergency door and jumping out of the plane while it was still on the tarmac in New Orleans.

The incident was captured on dramatic cell phone video Sunday night around 7:40 Louis Armstrong International Airport. The plane was still attached to the skyway and at the gate and passengers rushed to disembark.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said the man who opened the emergency door climbed out onto the wing of the plane and then jumped to the ground. He was captured near the plane by ground personnel and held until police arrived.

Police said the man was incoherent and not fully aware of his surroundings. Police took the man to a local hospital for evaluation, saying they believe he was suffering from a mental health emergency.

The man has not been identified by police other than that he is 38 years old and is believed to be from Atlanta. Police said they found no evidence the man left anything on the plane and had no weapons of any kind in his possession.

He remained hospitalized as of Monday and police said he is not expected to face criminal charges locally, though the investigation has been referred to federal authorities.

The Southwest flight was canceled.