Dec 10, 2013 12:02 AM by Erin Steuber

Man Left on Plane: 'You can't make this up. It's just too absurd.'

It's a layover one family will never forget.

"You can't make this up. It's just too absurd," said Deborah Dedeus.

We've all been there; You doze off on the plane, but imagine this waking up in darkness, all alone. It sounds unbelievable, but it's exactly what happened to a Lafayette man. He was on his way to California, from Lafayette, and was supposed to catch a connecting flight in Houston. But he missed that plane, and because of that, he had to make a very bizarre phone call to family back here in Acadiana.

After waking up from a nap on his United Express Flight, Tom Wagner thought he was still dreaming.

"I woke up, and the lights were out. I was like what's going on," said Wagner.

It was about 30 minutes after Wagner should have been off the plane at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport when he made a very bizarre call to his wife.

"I said what are you talking about you're stuck on a plane," said his wife Deborah. "I was thinking he had landed and was stuck in the plane on the runway in Houston."

But that wasn't the case at all. Somehow Wagner was left on the flight. He woke up still sitting, near the back of the plane, cold and all alone in the dark, empty cabin.

"Everybody falls asleep on the plane. They didn't sweep the plane. I mean who shut the door," said Wagner.

Wagner's wife and step-daughter immediately called the Lafayette Airport to explain what was happening. But no one believed them.

"They didn't do their job to get him off," said Lana Dedeus. "And the passengers? It's a cold world. Nobody thought to wake him up."

A maintenance crew ultimately found him, shocked that he was there in the first place.

"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," said Wagner.

The flight is investigating what happened.

"To have all that security, and to leave someone on a plane like that is a little mind boggling," said Lana.

"What if I had a heart attack? What if I was dead? You just shut the plan and leave someone on there. That's the way I look at it," said Wagner.

Wagner was given a $250 voucher and was placed in a hotel until his rescheduled flight to California Saturday. Wagner will be returning to Lafayette Monday, on the same airline, but says he will be getting a better night sleep before boarding.



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