A stairwell on a TWA jet popped open during a flight, and a crew member with a tether around his waist to keep him from being swept out had to pull the hatch closed. None of the 72 people aboard were hurt.
The Boeing 727 was flying at 35,000 feet, at least 100 miles from its destination of San Antonio Tuesday night when a cockpit light indicated the rear stairway under the tail was open. The crew discovered it had dropped about 2 feet.
A bulkhead door between the stairway and the passenger compartment prevented the cabin from losing air pressure.
The captain took the plane down to 3,000 feet to permit a crew member to reach behind the bulkhead door, grab the stairway handle and pull the stairs shut, said TWA spokesman John McDonald said.