"Our first reaction was, 'Uhhh, who is this guy?'" a passenger said.

By Cailey Rizzo
December 14, 2020
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Credit: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A man was arrested over the weekend after climbing onto the wing of an Alaska Airlines plane at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

The aircraft was on the tarmac, full of passengers and about to take off for Portland on the Saturday afternoon when a man started walking towards it. Pilots spotted the man and called law enforcement, but they did not arrive in time to stop him from climbing onto the plane’s wing. 

"Our first reaction was, 'Uhhh, who is this guy? Is this a terrorist type of activity?'" Erin Evans, a passenger on the plane, told ABC News on Sunday. "The flight attendant told me in the 30 years that she’s been a flight attendant nothing like this happened before."

Video captured by passengers shows the man walking along the airplane wing, taking off his shoes and socks for better traction, and sitting down. Cabin crew instructed passengers to remain in their seats during the incident. 

The man was on the wing of the plane for about 45 minutes until law enforcement used the emergency exits from the cabin in order to apprehend him. The man walked towards the edge of the wing and slipped off onto the tarmac, where Las Vegas police met him. 

"Our guests and employees are safe and we are working with law enforcement. The plane returned to the gate for a full inspection," Alaska Airlines said in a statement to Travel + Leisure on Monday.

The man was taken to University Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries, and then booked into Clark County Jail for trespassing and disregard for public safety. 

Police suspect that the man jumped a fence at the airport in order to gain access to the tarmac. The investigation by Las Vegas police is ongoing. 

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.