New Orleans, LA – A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight was taken into custody on Sunday after he allegedly jumped out of the plane’s emergency exit before walking on the wing. The incident occurred at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The 38-year-old man, whose identity has not been revealed, was detained by Southwest ground personnel until authorities arrived at the scene.
Contrary to initial reports suggesting that the man was arrested, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office clarified that he was immediately transported to a hospital for evaluation upon the arrival of the police. As a result, his identity will not be released. The man is currently under hospital care, and federal authorities have taken over the investigation.
Officials from the sheriff’s office stated that the man was “incoherent” and seemed “not fully aware of his surroundings” when he was apprehended. The incident appears to be linked to a mental health emergency, according to the sheriff’s spokesman.
Southwest Airlines declined to comment on whether there was a security lapse that contributed to the incident. In an email response to Law&Crime, the company commended its flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologized for any inconvenience caused to customers.
According to WSB-TV, the flight was en route to Atlanta, Georgia, but had not yet taken off when the man accessed the emergency exit and stepped onto the wing. Authorities confirmed that the man, believed to be an Atlanta resident, was not armed, and no injuries were reported.
A viral video of the incident circulated on social media platforms, including TikTok, where some witnesses speculated that the man left something on the plane before making his escape. However, the sheriff’s spokesman dismissed these claims, stating that there was no evidence to suggest that the man left anything behind or had any weapons in his possession.
In conclusion, a passenger was detained in New Orleans after he reportedly jumped out of a Southwest Airlines plane’s emergency exit and walked on the wing. The man, who appeared to be suffering from a mental health emergency, was immediately transported to a hospital for evaluation. Federal authorities have taken over the investigation, and Southwest Airlines has not commented on any potential security issues. No injuries were reported during the incident.