In a shocking incident, a passenger on a United Express flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City jumped out of the taxiing aircraft using the emergency slide. The passenger also tried to breach the cockpit before jumping out of the plane, raising alarms onboard. The news comes as US airlines see a surge of unruly passengers onboard amid the rebound in air traffic.
A scary incident
According to ABC7, the incident occurred on Friday night (25th June) onboard United Express flight UA5365. The aircraft left the gate at LAX on time at 18:55 and began the taxi towards the runway. However, things did not go smoothly while the plane was on the move.
One male passenger reportedly came to the front of the plane and attempted to breach the cockpit door. After failing to enter, he then successfully opened one of the cabin doors, deploying the emergency slide. In doing so, he left the aircraft at approximately 19:10 local time. However, during the exit, the passenger was injured and has been hospitalized with his condition currently unknown.
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Law enforcement moved quickly to arrest the passenger and then transfer him to the hospital. Meanwhile, the aircraft returned to the gate with its emergency slide deployed. Passengers were offloaded using a jet bridge. An image below shows the aircraft at the gate with its right-hand emergency slide deployed following the incident.
#Entérate De acuerdo con medios locales, el pasado 25 de junio a las 19:10 un hombre intentó ingresar a la cabina de pilotos en el vuelo UA5365 de #UnitedExpress operado por un Embraer 175 matrícula N108SY de SkyWest cubriendo la ruta entre #LosÁngeles y Salt Lake City
— EnElAire (@Enel_Aire) June 26, 2021
Other passengers unharmed
In a statement to NBC Bay Area, SkyWest confirmed that no other passengers were injured during the incident and the plane safely made it back to the terminal. The flight was then rescheduled as SkyWest found a replacement aircraft to carry the passengers.
Flight UA5365 departed LAX once again at 22:36 local time and landed safely in Salt Lake City with no incident at 01:25 AM local time, according to data from RadarBox.com.
Friday’s incident is the latest in a long string of safety incidents on US flights. In the last few weeks, several flights have been diverted due to abusive or violent passengers. Incidents of attempted hijackings have occurred too, with passengers trying to forcefully enter the cockpit when the plane is in flight.
FAA cracking down
The FAA has taken notice of these growing incidents and is quickly cracking down. Recently, it proposed a $65,000 fine against five passengers who were either physically violent or refused to follow crew instructions. However, penalties for illegal behavior on a flight can include prison time and hefty fines of up to $52,500, depending on the severity.
This increasing level of abusive behavior towards crew has even prompted Southwest and American to delay resuming alcohol sales onboard. Until the risk of violent and unruly passengers does not decrease, airlines will be taking heightened measures to protect their crew and other travelers onboard. For now, expect to see airlines and the FAA continue to crack down on such behavior with strict punishments.
What do you think about the growing incidents of illegal passenger behavior? Let us know in the comments.