Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit During Delta Flight

A pilot was locked out of the cockpit during a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas.
A pilot was locked out of the cockpit during a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas.
Erik S. Lesser/EPA, file photo

A Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas made an emergency landing in Vegas Thursday, when the pilot was locked out of the cockpit after taking a bathroom break.

The pilot addressed the passengers, saying, “I have some bad news,” passenger Jonathan Thalacker told ABC News. “I had to go to the bathroom, and when I came back out, I got locked out of the cockpit, the door is jammed.”

The first officer took over the controls and landed the plane. The MD-90 aircraft was not damaged, and none of the 168 passengers onboard were injured. The plane landed at 12:23 p.m., just 13 minutes after the emergency was declared, reports the Associated Press.

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The plane had to be towed from the runway to the gate, because the co-pilot did not have access to the taxiing controls from his seat, passenger Jesse Dougherty told ABC News. But the plane still pulled into its regular gate at McCarran International Airport on time, at about 12:30 p.m.

Once on the ground, everyone on the aircraft started applauding, hollering, and calling out, “Thank God,” said Thalacker.

Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews told ABC that a door malfunctioned, it was an “unusual landing,” and the whole incident was taken very seriously.

Delta spokeswoman Lindsay McDuff said Delta crews are trained for these situations, and a commercial aircraft can be landed safefly with just one pilot. She said the doors are being studied by maintenance technicians.

A passenger told ABC that the maintenance crew found a piece of string that kept the door from opening, but that information has not been confirmed by officials.