A teenager traveling in a Copa Airlines flight was detained and taken for medical evaluation after he jumped out of his seat, opened the plane’s emergency door and slid down on to the wing before jumping to the tarmac.
The plane was traveling from Panama City to San Francisco. The dramatic incident unfolded minutes after the plane touched down at the San Francisco International airport.
The 17-year-old created panic and stunned passengers on board as he threw himself down the door of the airplane.
According to airport spokesman Doug Yakel, the teen — a U.S. citizen — was traveling alone and appeared to be in emotional distress during the flight. No runways or other flights were affected by his actions, Yankel said.
Thankfully, the teenager wasn’t hurt.
An airfield construction crew held him until police arrived.
The flight was seven hours long and according to other passengers, the teen seemed fidgety and anxious throughout the journey. By the time passengers realized he jumped, he was already running on the ground, making it almost impossible for anyone to stop him.
“It was as if he was like flying out, like it was really fast," an eyewitness, Sophia Gibson told San Jose television station KNTV.
"This guy, I see him jump on the wing and then he starts climbing down the wing and then he just runs. And then he just starts running the other way. And everyone was just screaming," she said.
Passenger Matt Crowder added how people sitting near the exit row felt.
"They were yelling, 'Tell the flight attendants. Relay the message back. The door's open. Someone jumped off,'" Crowder said. "It was pretty crazy."
Another passenge,r Isaac Rodrigues, said a flight attendant used her body to block the gap where the door had been until the plane was at a gate. "We were on the runway for about an hour," he said.
Later, Copa Airlines said in a statement that emergency exits over wings were intended to be opened by passengers at lower altitudes to allow evacuations in case of emergency exits. To open the doors without being instructed by any of the airplane’s crew members is a violation of federal law.
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