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Airline Passenger Opens Emergency Exit, Jumps Out of Plane on Chicago Runway

The 57-year-old California man climbed out onto the wing and ran across the runway as his plane approached the gate.

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Image for article titled Airline Passenger Opens Emergency Exit, Jumps Out of Plane on Chicago Runway
Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP (Getty Images)

No matter how long a flight actually is, it just feels like the time between landing and being able to step off the plane to the lengthiest part of any flight. I usually have to consistently remind myself that it will be only a few minutes until I’m in the terminal. However, I’ve never thought that the wait was long enough to consider jumping off the plane and running across the tarmac to the terminal.

At 4:30 am on Thursday morning, a United Airlines Flight 2478 landed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago after departing from San Diego, California. As the Boeing 737-900ER approached its gate, Randy Frank Davila decided, for some odd reason, to open the emergency exit door. The passenger then climbed out onto the aircraft’s wing and dropped down to the O’Hare apron. The ground crew apprehended the 57-year-old Californian and also contacted local law enforcement.

A statement from United Airlines didn’t expand upon the widely reported series of events:

“This morning United flight 2478 was taxiing toward the gate at Chicago O’Hare when a passenger opened an aircraft door and exited the plane. Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement. The plane then arrived at the gate and all passengers deplaned safely. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority.”


His fellow passengers and even the 911 dispatcher were both stunned by what took place. I just want to know what this guy’s gameplay was when he opened that door. Did he think he could walk across the tarmac, into the terminal and leave the airport? Did he only have carry-on luggage, or did he plan on picking up baggage at the carousel? Well, he now has to plan on appearing in court at the end of June.