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Man Charged After Escaping Moving Plane Through Window And Walking Along Wing

by : Shola Lee on :
Man Charged After Escaping Moving Plane Through Window And Walking Along Wing
Man Charged After Escaping Moving Plane Through Window And Walking Along Wing (Chicago Police/Twitter)

On Thursday (5 May), a passenger was taken into custody after opening an airplane door and walking onto the wing.

As United Airlines flight 2478 from San Diego to O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, was taxiing to the gate after landing, 57-year-old Randy Frank Davila opened the door and got onto the wing.

He has since been taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department and charged with reckless conduct.

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A recording from Air Traffic Control, obtained by NBC confirmed the incident: "We had to stop short of Gate Bravo 3. Somebody pulled the rear right over wing exit. Someone in seat 21 Bravo has exited the aircraft and is on the ramp."

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Chicago Police said (as reported by CNN): "A male subject was onboard a plane that was approaching the gate when he pulled the emergency exit and walked out onto the wing of the plane.

"The subject then slid down the wing and onto the airfield."

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However, employees quickly responded to the incident, with the airline saying: "Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement.

Randy Frank Davila was arrested after walking out onto the wing of a plane. Credit: Chicago Police Department
Randy Frank Davila was arrested after walking out onto the wing of a plane. Credit: Chicago Police Department

"The plane then arrived at the gate and all passengers deplaned safely. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority."

When officers arrived at the scene, Davila was placed in custody.

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While it is unclear why the man walked out onto the wing, police said that he 'denied alcohol service by the flight attendants' and was 'talking to himself throughout the flight,' as cited by the Daily Mail.

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Mary Ellen Eagelston, a passenger on the flight, told NBC: "Everyone was kind of a little surprised and [said] did we really see what we really saw?

"I just saw him exiting out and that was it. I guess he landed on the wing and then jumped down to the tarmac."

O'Hare International Airport, where the incident took place. Credit: Google Maps
O'Hare International Airport, where the incident took place. Credit: Google Maps
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This may in part be because flight attendants remain seated during take-off and landing, seeing to their duties/passengers when it is safe to do so.

Davila is expected to appear in court on 27 June, however, he will reportedly not face federal charges as there was 'no signage on the emergency door nor the tarmac advising the subject that exiting a moving plane would constitute criminal trespass to restricted areas'.

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: News, Police, US News, Travel