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Locked in plane: United passenger forgotten, trapped in locked plane in Houston

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Locked in a plane, ExpressJet cannot explain how it is possible that a man was left behind, trapped, and locked in an airplane in Houston. “I woke up and the lights were out. I was like, what's going on? I thought maybe it was a layover, still on the same plane." According to a Dec. 7, 2013, ABC Local report, the only thing that the passenger, Tom Wagner, could imagine was that he was dreaming.

“He woke up to a cold and pitch-black cabin, and the aircraft doors were locked shut.”

Once Tom Wagner realized that he was not having a nightmare but that he actually had been locked in the plane, he frantically called his girlfriend who thought he was either crazy or joking.

On Friday, Tom took a flight from Louisiana to visit his sister in California. His flight had a layover in Houston, Texas. During the flight to Houston, Tom, who was sitting in a window seat near the back of the airplane, took his hat off and took a nap. When Tom woke up from his nap, the plane cabin was cold, dark, empty – completely empty. Everyone had left the airplane and no one noticed that he was still on board.

After calling his girlfriend and convincing her that he was not crazy or joking and that he was indeed locked in a plane, Tom’s girlfriend called United Airlines.

"I called my girlfriend, and she thought I was crazy. I said, 'Debbie I'm locked on the plane.' I said, 'I'm telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane'."

After more than 30 minutes, workers came aboard to check if someone had really been locked in the plane. Stunned to find a lone passenger locked behind the cabin doors, Tom Wagner was told to keep the incident quiet.

"I said, 'Don't put the blame on me. I didn't do anything wrong here.' And then they were, like, try to hush-hush, keep it quiet. And they gave me this little package here in a motel room."

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, ExpressJet said that there was a post-flight walk-through that was done, but the company couldn't explain how they could have missed one of their passengers and how it was possible that Tom Wagner was left behind locked in the plane.

"An ExpressJet passenger remained on board flight 4245, operating as United Express from Lafayette, La. to Houston on Friday, Dec. 6, after all passengers had deplaned. ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."

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