• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:14pm
NewsHong Kong
AVIATION

Passenger 'tried to pull open cabin door' of Virgin jet sent back to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 10:36am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 2:42pm

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Hong Kong to London was forced to turn back after a passenger attempted to yank open the aircraft’s door mid-flight, a source at the airline has revealed.

The plane had travelled about 1,000km on Monday morning when a 26-year old British man began shouting and attempted to pull open the cabin door, forcing staff to restrain him in his seat.

When he refused to calm down the crew took the decision to return to Hong Kong so as not to subject other passengers to hours of disruption, the source said.

Flight VS201, which was carrying 240 passengers and 16 crew members, was forced to dump fuel on the way back in order to make a safe landing.

A Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman declined to comment on the details of the incident, saying it was a matter of aviation safety.

Chris Beebe, general secretary of the Hong Kong Airline Pilots Association, said that the chances of a disruptive passenger being able to open the cabin door were very unlikely, due to the air pressure inside the plane.

The former US Airways pilot, with 33 years of experience, said the force needed to pull open the door in mid-air would be similar to that needed to push a double-decker bus on the ground.

Cabin doors are designed to open in and then out and “not like your standard entry door,” he said.

“These doors are even safer because they are slightly larger than the frame, and that’s how it forms a very good seal in the cabin.”

The disruptive passenger, who was detained by police upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, was sent to Princess Margaret Hospital for a medical check, where he remained on Tuesday. 

A police source earlier said: "He was accused of singing, shouting and waving his hands in his seat. He allegedly pushed away a flight attendant while being asked to calm down."

A police spokeswoman said the case was still being investigated and a decision on whether he will face charges of violating the Aviation Security Ordinance had not yet been made yet.

The incident is likely to cost Virgin hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong dollars in wasted fuel, salaries, airport costs, passenger accommodation and a rescheduled flight.

The remaining passengers left Hong Kong for London last night.

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This article is now closed to comments

Beaker
someone I know tried the same thing when he was unmedicated while suffering psychosis after ODing on acid. The crew zip tied him and threw him into a hold meant to lock up nuts. I think they have those spaces on 747s. He mostly recovered over the last 20 years, but was never the same again. I would say drugs, not alcohol. Hallucinagenic, so likely LSD or mushrooms.
dieulama
Knowing the recent ineptness of our HK legal system, he'll probably just get a fine and deported back to the UK. Too bad........
chanaa
Hate to say it, but they should stop serving alcohol on flights, on all classes.
Dai Muff
He was apparently drunk, or at least rowdy, before he got on. The worst ones always are. They do control the drinks of people they think are getting out of hand.
caractacus
We don't know what went on in this man's mind, but it doesn't sound like a drunken hooligan, more likely some mental illness or psychosis.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
I think its most likely a drunken hooligan.
Pokfulam2
I agree, sounds like some type of psychosis probably triggered by a fear of flying. Now he's going to have to go back with the surface mail.
The pressure inside the aircraft above 10,000 feet is much higher than the pressure outside, so the plug type door cannot be pulled in with human strength. He would probably have collapsed after about an hour after all the nervous energy was gone. Captain's call though.
shuike
Either he's mentally ill, drug induced or drunk whilst boarding. Shouldn't the ground staff check before allowing this maniac onboard?
r6b
I would guess that this guy got progressively worse after boarding, as alcohol and what ever else began to take affect, plus what he may have been served prior to mealtime.
UK's drunk and violently disorderly "soccer hooligans" are well known both in UK and many European cities. Its not surprising that one occasionally travels further afield.
A few years in Stanley would be appropriate, plus as much financial restitution as possible.
Dai Muff
It seems more mentally ill than drunk to try to open a door mid-flight.
(a) you can't and (b) you'd be the first to be sucked out.
I will be interested to see what the medical report says.

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