NEW YORK (AP) — A Delta flight out of New York City was halted after a Florida couple travelling with a Great Dane puppy fled the aircraft with the pet using an emergency slide, an airline spokesperson and authorities said.
The incident involving Antonio Murdock and Brianna Greco occurred as the jet was on a runway leaving for a flight from LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta, said spokesperson Morgan Durrant.
Witnesses reported seeing a panicky Murdock force open a cabin door and jump out using the emergency chute leading to the runway. He was quickly followed by Greco with the puppy in tow.
Murdock, 31, and Greco, 27, of Lake Worth, Florida, were taken into custody on charges including criminal mischief and trespassing, among others.
Murdock was released without bail at an arraignment, while Greco was released on a desk appearance ticket. The dog, who The New York Post reported was named Rain, was turned over to an animal shelter.
Outside court, Murdock said he was having a panic attack, the New York Post reported.
“I asked them three or four times to let me off,” he said. “They said they were stopping the plane and they never stopped the plane, and I got to the point where I was just feeling dizzy. I did not even know there was a slot to go down the slide. I just thought it was a regular door.” A message was left with an attorney for Murdock.
Passenger Brian Plummer told The New York Times before the couple exited the plane, the pair changed seats several times.
Murdock finally stood up and ignored a flight attendant’s order to take a seat for takeoff, telling the attendant that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, Plummer added.
“If I sit down, I will freak out,” the man said, according to Plummer.