Two passengers leave plane by emergency slide before takeoff from NYC

Two passengers forced open the cabin door on their Delta flight and fled down an emergency slide shortly before takeoff Monday at LaGuardia Airport, the airline said.

The passengers, who were not identified, were on a flight bound for Atlanta when they opened the aircraft’s cabin door.

The plane, an Airbus A321, was taxiing at the time and returned to the gate, the statement said. Other passengers were placed on alternative flights, the airline said.

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Maintenance crews evaluated the plane, and it was scheduled to return to service Monday, the airline said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the hasty exit. The police department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times, citing another passenger on the flight, identified the pair as a couple with a service dog who had switched seats several times before takeoff.

The passenger, Brian Plummer, said the man stood up as the aircraft began moving and ignored a flight attendant's order to sit down.

Plummer told The Times that he didn't see the man open the cabin door, but the flight crew alerted passengers after the plane came to an abrupt halt.

After the man had forced open the emergency exit, the couple left with their dog, the newspaper reported.