A United Airlines flight from New Jersey to Tampa was unable to take off on time Sunday evening after a passenger escaped the plane by opening the emergency exit door and jumping off using the inflatable slide, a witness and the airline tell NBC 4 New York.
United Airlines Flight 1640 was parked at the gate at Newark Liberty International Airport when the passenger popped a chute and slid down, according to law enforcement sources. When officers got to the scene, the panicked passenger was yelling that he didn’t belong on the plane because it was the wrong flight, according to the airline and the Port Authority.
“While Flight 1640 was parked at the gate at Newark Liberty International Airport, a passenger opened the emergency exit door and departed the aircraft using the slide,” United Airlines spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said.
Despite the claim he was on the wrong flight, Port Authority said he was ticketed to be on the plane to Tampa.
Officials identified the passenger as Troy Fattun, 25, and said he was placed under arrest. Charges are pending. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
The flight was delayed for more than five hours, according to Flightaware.com. Witness John O’Malley, a passenger on the plane that was delayed, said all of the passengers safely disembarked from the plane after the unusual incident.
Schmerin added that the flight was rescheduled to depart from Newark around midnight. United Airlines confirmed the plane departed at 12:09 Monday morning. Flightaware.com reported the flight safely landed in Tampa just before 3 a.m. Monday.
Video shot by O’Malley and exclusively obtained by News 4 New York shows the passenger being led away off the tarmac by two police officers.
Meanwhile, on a separate United flight at Newark, Flight 1551 landed "safely" at Portland International Airport in Oregon after blowing a tire during takeoff in New Jersey, United said.
"Flight 1551 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Portland International Airport landed safely following a tire blowout during takeoff," a United spokesperson said. "Customers will deplane normally."