Florida couple arrested after using emergency chute to escape plane with their dog before take-off

Mr Murdock said his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered in confined places

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 23 December 2020 09:11
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<p>The couple was arraigned for fleeing the Atlanta-bound Delta flight as it was taxiing towards the runway&nbsp;</p>

The couple was arraigned for fleeing the Atlanta-bound Delta flight as it was taxiing towards the runway 

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A Florida man who said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is facing a felony charge and an exorbitant bill after he and his flying companion escaped from a moving plane with their Great Dane dog using the emergency chute.

Antonio Murdock, 31, and Brianna Greco, 23 were on a Delta flight, traveling from New York to Atlanta when they opened a cabin door and activated the slide to escape from the taxiing plane on the runway.

The two were held after the aircraft was halted and they were charged with mischief in the second degree, criminal trespass and reckless endangerment on Tuesday. The two can also be charged with a $173,000 cost for damage to aircraft.

Mr Murdock has denied the charges and criminal intent, saying he had a panic attack and the crew did not let them de-board the plane.  

“I got anxiety and depression. I asked them three or four times to let me off. 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,” said Mr Murdock outside Queens Criminal Court.

“I didn’t even know there was a slot to go down the slide,” he said. “I just thought it was a regular door. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. I wasn’t doing a criminal act,” he said.

The stunt led to panic in the aircraft, with more than 100 passengers in the plane, as Mr Murdock had a verbal exchange with the flight crew and forced the door open.

“I need to get off the plane, I don't want to sit here,” Mr Murdock said, according to the the court documents. “I'm gonna pop the door, if I don't get off the plane I'm going to sp**z out.”

Mr Murdock said his PTSD is triggered in confined places. The airline said the flight was halted and the remaining of the 106 passengers were “'deplaned normally and were accommodated on alternate flights.”

The next flight finally left for LaGuardia nine hours late after security checks.

While the two were released on supervision, which means they will have to appear to the court, the dog was taken to a shelter home.

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