Chinese passenger convicted of opening plane’s emergency exit, but escapes punishment

Criminal case first of its kind on the mainland, according to state television

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 December, 2016, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 December, 2016, 4:31pm

A woman was convicted of endangering public security by a court in northeast China for opening the emergency exit of a moving airliner preparing for take-off, state media reported.

Chinese state television said the case in Jilin province was the first criminal court hearing to rule on such behaviour on the mainland.

Chinese media have reported on a number of Chinese air passengers opening plane’s emergency exits in recent years, in cases deemed as highlighting some air travellers’ poor manners or dangerous behaviour on flights.

Chinese passengers yank open moving plane’s emergency doors after row with pilot

The woman convicted in Jilin, Piao Yinglan, pleaded guilty in court, but escaped criminal punishment as her acts “did not cause casualties or severe economic losses”, state television reported on its website, citing the court in Yanji.

The woman was placed in detention for 10 days after carrying out the offence, according to earlier media reports.

Piao was a passenger on an Asiana Airlines flight from Yanji to Incheon in South Korea in February last year, according to the state television report.

She opened the emergency exit after the plane had taxied for 38 metres in preparation for take-off, forcing the pilot to make an emergency stop. The airliner’s emergency slide was also deployed after the door opened.

The incident caused a four-hour delay and a direct economic loss of 34,000 yuan (HK$38,000), CCTV said.

The report did not say why the woman opened the door.

A Chinese man was placed in detention for 15 days in August for attempting to open the emergency door and threatening to kill himself after having a row with his girlfriend when flying from Chongqing to Beijing.

Chinese passenger opens emergency exit ‘to get some fresh air’ as plane prepares for take-off

A passenger on a flight from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province to Chengdu in Sichuan triggered a safety scare two years ago by yanking open an emergency exit minutes before the plane was due to take off to “get some fresh air”.

In January last year, passengers on a flight from Kunming in Yunnan province to Beijing opened three emergency exit doors moments before take-off after becoming irritated at delays caused by snow.