A passenger onboard a Southwest Airlines flight that had just landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport jumped out of the aircraft while it was still taxiing to the gate, ran into the airport fire station which was nearby and locked himself in a room.
Daniel Ramirez, 30 years old, now faces potential felony charges following the bizarre incident on Saturday morning.
Southwest Airlines flight WN4236 from Colorado Springs was an otherwise uneventful flight that landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor at around 8:25 am on Saturday. According to a company spokesperson, Ramirez somehow managed to open one of the main exit doors at the back of the aircraft.
“Initial reports indicate that while the flight was taxing to the gate, a Customer onboard exited the aircraft via a rear galley door,” the airline explained in a statement. “The flight’s Captain stopped the aircraft and notified Air Traffic Control (ATC),” the statement continued.
The man, who has been identified locally as Ramirez, then ran into the airport fire station and managed to lock himself into a dormitory room. Phoenix Fire Department Captain Todd Keller continues the story:
“After a few minutes, firefighters were able to get the adult male to unlock the door where he was then evaluated, treated and transported to a local hospital for a lower extremity injury,” the fire captain added.
The Captain of the Boeing 737 aircraft was able to continue taxiing the plane to the gate where the other passenger deplaned as normal.
What’s even more unusual about this case is that Ramirez appears to have opened one of the main exit doors which is normally guarded by a flight attendant. Opening one of these doors would normally activate an emergency escape slide, although this system can be deactivated by a flight attendant.
In recent months, there have been several cases of passengers using emergency exits to get out of aircraft. In one recent incident, a passenger onboard a United Express branded aircraft managed to open an emergency exit and jump out of the plane while it was taxiing for takeoff at Los Angeles International Airport.
In another incident, a man onboard a delayed American Airlines flight tired of waiting onboard the aircraft and instead activated the overwing emergency exit and jumped onto the wing of the plane.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.