A Southwest Airlines passenger was hospitalized after allegedly opening a plane’s emergency exit door and then climbing onto the plane’s wing.
The plane was preparing for takeoff at 7:41 p.m. Sunday at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Louisiana when the incident took place before the plane left the gate, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
It’s not clear what prompted the episode, though authorities said the man appeared to be experiencing a mental health emergency, adding that he was incoherent and not fully aware of his surroundings.
Video posted on social media appears to show the man being tackled on the tarmac while travelers watch stunned from windows at the gate after being evacuated from the plane. Some of the people reacting in the video claimed that the man left something on the plane before exiting, creating a slight panic, but this turned out to be unfounded, authorities said.
“He is not expected to face any criminal charges locally, however the investigation has been referred to federal authorities,” the sheriff’s office said.
No one was injured during the incident and the man, who was described as 38 years old, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, authorities said.
A Southwest Airlines spokesperson referred questions to local law enforcement.
“We commend our flight and ground crews for their swift action and apologize to our Customers for their inconvenience,” the airline said in a statement.
The incident came during an especially hectic day for airline travel, with the Transportation Security Administration reporting that it processed more than 2.9 million passengers nationwide on Sunday. That made it the busiest travel day ever recorded, the TSA said.