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Southwest Airlines passenger hospitalized after opening emergency exit and climbing onto wing, offic

By Marlene Lenthang


A Southwest Airlines passenger has been taken to a hospital for an evaluation after he opened the plane’s emergency exit hatch and climbed onto the plane's wing on Sunday, officials said.

The incident happened at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport as the plane was still at the skyway and was not moving, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said. It’s not clear what prompted the passenger to open the emergency exit.

"The man climbed onto the wing of the aircraft and jumped to the ground. He was captured near the plane by ground personnel and held until the arrival of deputies," the sheriff's office said.

The man was then transported to a hospital for evaluation as he was believed to be "suffering from a mental health emergency," according to the sheriff's office. Deputies found him "incoherent" and "not fully aware of his surroundings," authorities said.

As of Monday afternoon, the man, who was not identified but described as 38 years old and from Atlanta, remained hospitalized.


There are no criminal charges in connection with the incident and the investigation has been referred to federal authorities, according to the sheriff's office, which noted the man wasn't found in possession of any weapons and he left nothing on the plane.


Southwest Airlines said that after a brief delay, the flight eventually departed to Atlanta and continued to its final destination of Baltimore.


“We commend our flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologize to our customers for their inconvenience,” the airline said.


The airport confirmed that there was an incident involving "a Southwest Airlines passenger’s unauthorized deplaning of the aircraft," but deferred further comment to the sheriff's office.


This article originally appeared on NBC News.

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