A Canadian tourist opened the door of a Thai Airways plane preparing to take off from Chiang Mai Airport to 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 further wrote.
A passenger opened the emergency door, causing the inflatable slide to activate and the plane unable to take off, Chiang Mai Airport director Ronnakorn Chalermsaenyakorn said late Thursday.
The plane returned to the terminal and passengers disembarked while technicians performed security checks, he said. The disruption affected more than a dozen other flights at the airport, Ronnakorn said.
After an inspection, the plane was allowed 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, who identified the male tourist as Canadian.
“He admitted that he opened the door, the reason was that people were coming after him… based on his behavior, he must have been hallucinating,” the passenger’s lawyer, Jirawat Yarnkiatpakdee, told ThaiPBS.