El Al passenger opens emergency door, tries to jump out at JFK

Crew members restrain man who attempts to leap from plane on New York runway

El Al Boeing 747-400 at Ben-Gurion International Airport (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)
El Al Boeing 747-400 at Ben-Gurion International Airport (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)

Alert crew members on an El Al jumbo jet grabbed a passenger Wednesday who opened an emergency door and tried to jump out after the plane landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport.

Flight LY001 from Tel Aviv to New York arrived at the gate and the roughly 400 passengers were leaving the Boeing 747 when the unidentified passenger opened an emergency exit door and tried to jump out, the Ynet news site reported.

“A passenger with American citizenship opened one of the rear passenger doors that are not intended for passengers,” El Al said in a statement.

“Two El Al crew members who noticed the passenger were cool and resourceful when they grabbed the passenger who was hanging from the door and prevented him from jumping from a great height and thus saved his life,” El Al said.

The distance to the concrete ground from the door of a Boeing 747-400, the aircraft normally used on the flight to New York, is about 5.2 meters (17 feet).

An El Al ground crew worker who witnessed the incident then brought a ladder. The passenger reportedly scrambled down the ladder and tried to flee, but was apprehended by security and detained for questioning.

El Al’s CEO Gonen Usishkin praised the crew for “preventing a serious incident and the loss of human life.”

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