California woman accused of opening plane door in Buffalo, inflating emergency slide

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A California woman is accused of opening the cargo door of a plane at Buffalo Niagara International Airport

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Cynthia McKnight, 24, of Sacramento, was arrested Tuesday night by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police and faces charges including disorderly conduct, harassment, trespassing and criminal mischief, The Buffalo News reported. She was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, according to the newspaper.

NFTA officials said McKnight was on an American Airlines flight bound for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when she became “unruly,” WKBW-TV reported. According to detectives, McKnight opened the cabin door of the plane, the television station reported.

American Airlines said in a statement that the incident happened on American Eagle Flight 3933, KOVR-TV reported. The aircraft was already on its pushback from the gate when McKnight allegedly caused a disruption, according to the television station. McKnight allegedly opened the cabin door, which caused the emergency slide to deploy, CBS News reported. She then used the slide to exit the airplane onto the tarmac, an American Airlines spokesperson said.

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown was on board the plane as the incident occurred and tweeted about it afterward.

“The individual was quickly apprehended by local law enforcement and has been placed on American’s internal refuse list pending further investigation,” American Airlines said in a statement. “We thank our team members for their professionalism and action to ensure the safety of our customers and crew.”

The flight had 65 passengers and four crew members, KOVR reported. The aircraft was taken out of service and the remaining passengers were booked on alternate flights, according to an American Airlines spokesperson.