(CNN) – One of the passengers who departed from a Delta flight with their dog while boarding the plane felt he needed to leave or he would lose control, according to data during an interrogation session on Tuesday.
Both Antonio Murdock, 31, and Brianna Greco, 23, of Florida, are facing third-degree criminal trespassing charges, according to Lennis Valens, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Valence said Murdock is additionally charged with second-degree offenses and second-degree reckless endangerment.
During Murdock’s indictment at the New York Criminal Court in Queens on Tuesday, authorities said a flight attendant who was on board during the accident told them she noticed a man and woman walking across the plane.
According to the flight attendant’s statement, she allegedly heard the male passenger, whom the authorities identified as being yours, mainly, “I need to get off the plane, I don’t want to sit here, I’ll open the door.”
Subsequently, Murdock allegedly bypassed the stewardess and opened a door marked “emergency exit”, causing the attached slide to spread and enlarge. According to the statement, the man picked up his dog and got out of the slide.
The passenger, identified as Greco during the trial, allegedly followed Murdock down the slide. Then the husband and dog moved away from the plane in the taxi lane.
Authorities arrested them later in the restricted passages area, as mentioned during the trial.
The flight attendant informed the authorities that there is no situation on board that would require Murdock to open the emergency door, according to the summons.
Murdock’s attorney Gabriel Olderan did not provide any comment to CNN upon contact. CNN is trying to reach Greco for comment, and it is not clear if it has legal representation.
Manhattan resident Casey Johnson on his way back to his family in Panama City Beach, Florida, told CNN he had changed seats with the couple and their dog at the gate.
Johnson said the couple were cute and nothing out of the ordinary was shown to him during their interaction.
He described the man, identified by the authorities as Murdock, as “soft-spoken”.
Murdock asked to switch rows with Johnson, he said, so they could get the last lane in the plane to accommodate their dog.
The plane was mostly full except for the middle seats which were left open as per Delta Covid-19 policy. Minutes later, Johnson said, the pair again moved several lines forward.
He said, “I really remember thinking, ‘Well, you just asked me to take turns with you because you wanted to be in the back, and all of a sudden you’ve decided now that you want to move forward.”
Johnson, who was wearing headphones as the plane moved to the runway, noticed turbulence later.
“And the next thing I know, I look up as we move, and I just see … I see a lot of people standing, and I see four people running towards the front of the plane. And at this point these should be passengers who were running to try to stop the person,” Johnson said, pointing to He did not see the husband and the dog jumping off the plane, but he did see the emergency exit in the front. From the plane near the cockpit it was open.
Johnson said the pilot informed passengers over cabin loudspeakers that the chip had been deployed and the door opened, but he did not mention that the passengers had fled.
Johnson said the plane sat on the runway for more than an hour before returning to the gate.
“After Murdock and Greco got off the plane, the plane returned to the gate and the passengers landed normally,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durant said.
He said the airline was able to accommodate the remaining passengers on alternate flights.
“The aircraft has been evaluated by maintenance technicians and it is scheduled to return to service this evening,” Durant said. He said Delta was unable to make further comments.
The Queens District Attorney’s office said Murdock is scheduled to return to court on February 9, and Greco is scheduled to appear in court on March 21.
Valence, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said the accompanying dog was taken to an animal shelter in Brooklyn.
Valence said Greco obtained a receipt to take back the dog.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the incident and the arrests and referred additional questions to Delta and local authorities.
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