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Family of man who jumped out of airplane at Sky Harbor speaks out

daniel ramirez.PNG
Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 09:31:36-05

PHOENIX — A man was taken to the hospital after jumping out of a Southwest Airlines airplane at the Phoenix Sky Harbor tarmac.

This happened while the plane was taxiing, at around 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

Officials with Southwest Airlines confirmed the man opened the door to exit the airplane.

His family was visibly emotional, telling ABC15 they were trying to get Daniel Ramirez some help, even before he departed from Colorado to Phoenix.

His mom, Theresa Padilla, says she video-called her son before he got on the plane.

That’s when she knew something was wrong.

“I don’t want him to be portrayed as some oh…some crazy guy that jumped out off the plane. You know. I mean, he was running and hiding because he thought somebody was after him,” she told ABC15 in tears.

Padilla says her son was in Colorado for a tiling job but wanted to come home because he feared for his life.

That’s when Ramirez's family started a video call.

“We were on the phone with him for seven hours. He was paranoid saying someone’s going to get me. Someone’s going to kill me,” said Emily Luevano, Ramirez’s sister-in-law, who was also on that call.

“I told him, I said…we’re not going to leave you alone. We’re not going to leave you alone,” added Padilla.

Ramirez’s family says they didn’t end the call until Ramirez boarded his plane.

ABC15 learned that upon landing at Sky Harbor, Ramirez somehow opened a plane door, jumped out, then ran to the nearby airport fire station where he locked himself into one of the dormitory rooms.

“Once we got the patient out of the room, they did a full evaluation and it was determined that he did need to go to the hospital,” said Captain Todd Keller with the Phoenix Fire Department.

“He had a contusion on his leg or something like that. He had contusions on his arms,” Padilla told ABC15.

Now Ramirez's family hopes he’s given a mental evaluation, telling ABC15 they have told Phoenix police he needs help.

They add Ramirez may be schizophrenic based on their family history of schizophrenia and say Ramirez is a kind and loving man.

“And I’m not going to give up because his mental health comes first, above anything,” said Ramirez’s mom.

Emergency room physician Dr. Amish Shah says if you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, you can always call 911, go to an emergency room, or call 211.

“211 is an Arizona hotline we have that will help you get in touch with say a suicide crisis hotline or a mental health counseling. We do not want a stigma around mental health,” said Dr. Shah.

“We just want people to know that, you know, mental health is serious,” Luevano told ABC15.

“Don’t judge them because you don’t know. You don’t live in their shoes. You don’t know what they go through on a daily basis,” said Padilla in tears.

The incident is still under investigation.

Ramirez's mom hopes she can get her son back home to California soon, to get him the help he needs.

Family members have started a GoFundMe to help make this possible.

Phoenix police confirmed Ramirez is facing two felony charges for trespassing.

Here is a list of crisis resources:

Crisis/Suicide Hotlines

Maricopa County:

1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444

Southern Arizona: (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties)

1-866-495-6735

Northern Arizona: (Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai Counties)

1-877-756-4090

24-Hour Crisis Hotlines - National

  • ​​​​​1-800-SUICIDE - HopeLine Suicide Hotline
  • 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Non-Crisis Warm Lines

602-347-1100 (Maricopa County)

520-770-9909 (Pima County)

1-888-404-5530 (Arizona Warm Line)

Suicide/Crisis Hotlines by County

  • 1-800-631-1314 and 602-222-9444 (Maricopa County)
  • 1-800-796-6762 or 520-622-6000 (Pima Country)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties)
  • 1-800-259-3449 (Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities)
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Yuma, La Paz, Pinal, and Gila Countries)
  • 1-877-756-4090 (Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties)