The United Airlines plane was approaching the gate at O'Hare at about 4:32 a.m. after arriving from San Diego when police said the male passenger pulled the emergency exit.
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He then walked onto the wing of the plane and then slid down onto the airfield, police said. Officers then arrived on the scene and arrested him.
Randy Davila, 57, is now charged with one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. Airport operations were not impacted by the incident.
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A United spoksperson issued a statement on the incident saying, "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."
The Chicago Aviation Department released a statement saying, "Shortly after 4:30 a.m. today, there was an incident involving a passenger on board United flight 2478, at O'Hare International Airport inbound from San Diego. Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers responded to the aircraft at the gate and took the individual into custody. No injuries were reported."