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Delta Airlines Passenger Arrested After Trying to Leave Plane 30,000 Feet Up

LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas) — One man was arrested after attempting to change his travel plans midflight — by leaving the plane through an emergency exit.

Richard Joel Garber, 60, of Atlanta, Ga., was seated on board Delta Airlines Flight 1702 on Oct. 23 when he tried to open one of the cabin doors after the plane had reached cruising altitude, which for commercial flights can be anywhere above 30,000 feet.

“Mr. Garber attempted to open the emergency exit door over the wing while the aircraft was in flight,” FBI Special Agent Patrick Turner told CBS Las Vegas. “(He) was detained by fellow passengers and the aircraft returned to Las Vegas … without further incident.”

Lorie Dankers, public affairs officer for the Transportation Security Administration in Las Vegas, told CBS Las Vegas that around 1:50 p.m., they were alerted about the disruptive passenger and the pilot’s decision to return the plane to Las Vegas for Garber’s removal.

“The flight continued on to Atlanta (after he was arrested), and landed there safely at 7:05 p.m. ET,” she added.

Garber will face charges of committing a crime aboard an aircraft — specifically, interfering with a flight crew.

According to Turner, Garber was seen in front of the U.S. Federal Magistrate on Oct. 24.

Turner added, “(He) was released on his own recognizance with a condition that he does not travel by air pending a resolution to his case.”

No one was able to comment as to Garber’s motives in trying to exit the plane.


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