A passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight that had just landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport leaped out of the plane as it was taxiing to the gate, went into the adjoining airport fire station, and locked himself in a room.
Following the unusual encounter on Saturday morning, Daniel Ramirez, 30 years old, now faces probable felony charges.
Southwest Airlines flight WN4236 from Colorado Springs landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor about 8:25 a.m. on Saturday after an otherwise routine journey. According to a business spokeswoman, Ramirez was able to open one of the aircraft’s main exit doors at the back.
“Initial reports indicate that while the flight was taxing to the gate, a Customer onboard exited the aircraft via a rear galley door,” the airline explained in a statement. “The flight’s Captain stopped the aircraft and notified Air Traffic Control (ATC),” the statement continued.
The man, known as Ramirez in the community, then raced into the airport fire station and locked himself in a dormitory room. Captain Todd Keller of the Phoenix Fire Department recounts the story:
“After a few minutes, firefighters were able to get the adult male to unlock the door where he was then evaluated, treated and transported to a local hospital for a lower extremity injury,” the fire captain added.
The Boeing 737’s captain was able to continue taxiing the jet to the gate, where the remaining passengers deplaned normally.
The fact that Ramirez appeared to have opened one of the primary departure doors, which is generally secured by a flight attendant, makes this instance much more uncommon. An emergency escape slide is generally activated when one of these doors is opened, although this device can be stopped by a flight attendant.