Two people aboard a Delta Airlines flight bound for Atlanta opened the plane's cabin door and exited via the emergency slide at LaGuardia Airport in New York City Monday morning, according to a local news source.
Two people, service dog slide out of moving plane
Officials from Delta said two people opened the plane's cabin door right before takeoff, and departed the moving aircraft via the slide. They took a service dog along on their impromptu escape.
The plane — an Airbus A321 with callsign Delta 462 — was taxiing down the LaGuardia Airport runway in Queens, New York, before its scheduled flight to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. This is when the passengers popped the door open, said a Delta spokesperson to another local news source, via email.
"The aircraft returned to the gate where the remaining customers deplaned normally and were accommodated on alternate flights," said the spokesperson. "Maintenance technicians have evaluated the aircraft and is scheduled to return to service this evening."
At least one passenger charged, reckless endangerment
Afterward, the plane promptly returned to the airport gate, where the remaining passengers deplaned and caught alternate flights. After maintenance technicians performed a checkup, Delta 462 departed LaGuardia at 7:17 PM EST — more than nine hours late.
The Port Authority Police Department said police arrested one of the passengers — who is now charged with reckless endangerment.
While Monday's surprise slide incident was physically harmless, there is no shortage of airline carnage and tragedy to review from years past.
Worst plane crash in history
The worst plane crash in world history — not counting those later designated as "terrorism" — was the 1977 "Tenerife Airport Disaster." On March 27 of that year, KLM flight 4805 collided Pan Am flight 1736 as it readied to take off.
All 248 KLM flight passengers were killed in the collision, in addition to 335 of the 396 aboard the Pan Am flight — at a total death toll of 583 people. A mere 61 passengers survived the Pan Am flight.
"The magnitude of the accident speaks for itself, but what makes it particularly unforgettable is the startling set of ironies and coincidences that preceded it," said Patrick Smith during an interview with the Telegraph.
While there was no countdown to destruction from two passengers and a service dog making a spontaneous escape and inconveniencing the remaining passengers, we should never forget: airports are where people are most on edge, existing between not only destinations, but also different phases of their lives. All we can do is hope to never see someone walking on the wing of a plane.