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HOUSTON, Texas — A woman who flew to Houston from New Orleans didn’t follow disembarkation instructions but rather took matters into her own hands.

The unidentified woman opened an emergency exit door and jumped out of a plane as it was taxiing down the runway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The plane was headed toward its gate, airline spokeswoman Maddie King said.

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Hampton Friedman, a passenger who was sitting across the aisle from the woman, captured a photo that showed the open door.


“I realized when the door popped open, and a woman stepped out of it,” he told CNN. Cathy Cole, another passenger, said the woman took off running toward the terminal.

“Somebody on the plane said, ‘We have a runner,’ and they kept repeating it,” Cole told KHOU. “I was traveling with my sister, and she looked out the window, and she saw a woman on the tarmac running toward the terminal.”

Another witness told KHOU that the woman didn’t say anything before opening the door and jumping about 15 feet to the ground.

Flight passengers waited on the plane for over an hour while police boarded and searched the aircraft.

“They kept telling us to wait, stay in our seats, stay seated,” Cole told KHOU. “The captain came on air and said, you know, the police will be boarding the plane. They came on the plane with their dog.”

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According to KHOU, the woman was not charged, and prosecutors said she is undergoing psychological tests.

“I’ve flown all over the world, and I’ve been on lots of really long flights, and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Cole said. “I have no earthly idea why she would want to do that.”

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