Canadian man opens Thai Airways plane door before takeoff in Thailand; charged by cops after arrest
BANGKOK, Feb 10 (Agencies): A Canadian tourist opened the door of a Thai Airways flight that was preparing to take off from Chiang Mai airport bound for the capital Bangkok, local broadcaster ThaiPBS and officials said this week.
“The whole plane was in chaos,” wrote Facebook user Ananya Tiangtae, who was on the flight, adding that officials escorted the passenger off the plane.
“What if we were 30,000 feet above sea level? What would happen?” Ananya also wrote.
A passenger opened the emergency door, causing the inflatable slide to activate and the aircraft was unable to take off, Chiang Mai Airport director Ronnakorn Chalermsaenyakorn said late on Thursday.
The plane returned to the terminal and passengers disembarked, and technicians carried out safety inspections, he said. The disruption affected over a dozen other flights at the airport, Ronnakorn said.
After the inspection, the aircraft was cleared to depart with all passengers and crew safe, Thai Airways said.
The passenger was later seen in custody at a local police station on local TV station ThaiPBS, which identified the male tourist as Canadian.
“He admitted that he opened the door, the reason was people were coming after him … from his behaviour, it’s likely he was hallucinating,” the passenger’s lawyer, Jirawat Yarnkiatpakdee, told ThaiPBS.
The incident caused delays to more than a dozen flights, police said.
“He was charged with two counts — causing harm to others in the aircraft and not following aircraft staff instructions,” Nattawut Noisorn, deputy chief of investigation at Phu Ping Ratchaniwet police station, told AFP.
“He told us he opened the door because someone in the plane tried to kill him. He was very panicked.”
Police are investigating whether he had used any substances before boarding the plane or was suffering any mental illnesses. – Agencies