CHICAGO (WGN) — A man is in custody after opening a plane’s emergency exit and walking onto the wing of the moving aircraft at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Thursday. According to officials, the aircraft was in the process of taxiing to the airport’s gates.
The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. on United Airlines flight 2478, which had just arrived at O’Hare from San Diego. Police told WGN the passenger pulled open the emergency exit door while the aircraft was taxiing, walked onto the wing, then slid down onto the airfield.
WGN also obtained a photo from one of the man’s fellow passengers, showing the opened emergency door from inside the aircraft. The passenger was taken into custody and charges are pending police said. United Airlines said the aircraft proceeded to the gate and arrived safely after the incident.
“This morning United flight 2478 was taxiing toward the gate at Chicago O’Hare when a passenger opened an aircraft door and exited the plane,” United wrote in a statement shared with WGN. “Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement. The plane then arrived at the gate and all passengers deplaned safely. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority.”
It’s unclear which charges the United passenger faces. A woman who committed a similar offence at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York — during which she deployed the emergency slide and ran onto the tarmac — was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, trespassing and criminal mischief, according to authorities in Niagara.