Man arrested for trying to open plane door before take-off, Latest World News - The New Paper

Man arrested for trying to open plane door before take-off

THAILAND – A Canadian man was arrested on Feb 7 night after attempting to open an emergency exit shortly before the take-off of a Thai Airways flight at Chiang Mai Airport, police and witnesses said on Feb 8.

The 40-year-old passenger, identified as Wong Sai Heung, had apparently suffered a panic attack. He reportedly ran to an emergency exit at the front section of the aircraft and attempted to unlock the door, while shouting that someone was going to assault him.

The man was restrained and handed over to police for questioning.

He was initially charged with acting in a way that would imperil an aircraft. Police said they would discuss with airport officials to determine further charges as per the Air Navigation Act.

The incident led to an aborted take-off. The flight was scheduled to leave Chiang Mai at 9.05pm.

Thai Airways said on its website that the incident occurred on flight TG121 from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, while the aircraft was lining up before reaching the runway. It said the flight took off at 12.34am on Feb 8 after a safety check. “All the passengers, pilots and crew members were safe,” the airline said.

Sources said that after the incident on Wednesday night, certain departing flights could use another runway for take-off, but all arriving flights were delayed.

Normal operations were restored at 10.54pm after the Thai aircraft in question was moved back to its bay.

Wong was questioned at the Phuping Rajanivej Police Station in the northern city. A representative from the Canadian consulate was also present during the questioning.

Police said he described himself as a computer engineer and was suffering from panic disorder. The man told a translator from the Tourist Police Bureau that he was afraid of being attacked, as he was being stalked by an underground organisation. That was why he attempted to open the door so that he could jump out of the aircraft. – THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK