No criminal charges have been issued against the man, cops said.
A man on a Southwest Airlines Flight was arrested on Sunday in New Orleans, US, after he allegedly jumped out of an emergency hatch, climbed out into the plane's wing and attempted to run away as the aircraft was preparing to take off. According to CNN, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO) said that the 38-year-old man, whose identity hasn't been revealed, was arrested after he escaped from the emergency hatch and ran out onto the tarmac at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
A video going viral on social media showed passengers evacuating the plane and rushing through the jetway. Separately, photos shared by the New Orleans TV station showed the emergency hatch dropping down as well as the moment the man was escorted away in handcuffs by police.
Take a look at the video below:
At the time of the incident, the plane was parked at the terminal and had yet to push back from the gate for takeoff.
According to the New York Post, a passenger who witnessed the whole incident said that the 38-year-old had been walking on the airplane's wing before jumping down and running across the tarmac. He also tried to steal a service truck on the tarmac before being stopped by authorities, the witness added.
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When deputies made contact with the man on the tarmac, he appeared "incoherent and not fully aware of his surroundings," the sheriff's office stated. He was "transported to a local hospital for evaluation as the deputies believed he was suffering from a mental health emergency," officials said, adding that he remains hospitalised for now.
"There is no indication that the man left anything on the plane, nor was he found in possession of any weapons of any type. He is not expected to face any criminal charges locally, however the investigation has been referred to federal authorities. No one was injured during the incident," the statement continued, as per CNN.
After a delay, the flight departed using a different aircraft, the outlet reported. The witness, on the other hand, said that the delay was about two hours and the flight arrived in Atlanta shortly before midnight.