Aircrew and Passengers Restrain Man Who Tried to Open Door Mid-Flight

April 26, 2019 Updated: April 26, 2019

A panicked passenger scared holidaymakers on a flight from London when he tried to open a plane door mid-flight before passengers and crew brought him under control.

Easy Jet confirmed that a passenger had attempted to open the door during the flight from London Gatwick to Pisa, Italy, on April 24.

The man had suffered from a panic attack, according to Italian media reports.

According to La Sicilia, the 30-year-old man had started shouting as he tried the door, drawing the attention of passengers who intervened and then helped immobilize him.

Passenger Richard Conyard, 42, said he saw a man with a heavy coat go into the toilet, looking nervous, reported the Sun newspaper.

“When he came out he went toward the emergency exit and grabbed the handle and tried to open the door,” Conyard said.

According to the Sun, Conyard said that passengers started shouting and crying, and he helped to “bundle” the man into a seat where he was boxed in by some “burly” men.

However, writing on Twitter, Conyard questioned the Sun’s reporting: “No one was screaming or crying and I didn’t join in. It was all dealt with calmly by the cabin manager with the mild help of a few passengers.”

London to Pisa. (Screenshot/Google maps)

The captain notified police, who met the man on landing but decided to take no further action on learning of his psychiatric status, according to La Republicca. The airline has put the man on a blacklist.

Easyjet said in a statement via email:  “EasyJet can confirm that the captain of flight EZY8233 from London Gatwick to Pisa on April 24 requested police to meet the aircraft on arrival as a passenger made an attempt to open one of the cabin doors during the descent.”

“While it would not have been possible to open the door due to the cabin pressurization, the crew responded quickly to ensure the passenger remained seated until landing,” the statement continued.

aircraft door
An aircraft mechanic checks the door of an Airbus A380 in Dresden Germany. (Norbert Millauer/AFP/Getty Images)

“EasyJet’s cabin crew are trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.”

An Easyjet passenger plane taxis to the runway at Gatwick Airport on March 19, 2009. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Although the incident may have spooked some passengers, according to experts it is impossible to open a plane door during a flight.

“Cabin pressure won’t allow it,” Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author of “Cockpit Confidential,” a book about air travel told the Telegraph. “Think of an aircraft door as a drain plug, fixed in place by the interior pressure. Almost all aircraft exits open inward. Some retract upward into the ceiling; others swing outward, but they open inward first.

“At a typical cruising altitude, up to eight pounds of pressure are pushing against every square inch of the interior fuselage. That’s over 1,100 pounds against each square foot of door.”

But the laws of physics don’t stop passengers from trying from time to time.

In 2017, a passenger turned violent when crew tried to stop him opening the door 45 minutes into a flight from Seattle to Beijing.

The crew reportedly had to resort to violence to defend themselves and bring the situation under control after the passenger reportedly punched flight crew and passengers who came to their aid.

A passenger on the flight—which had to be turned around—told KIRO 7 News: “They broke two bottles of wine on his head. I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll.”

 

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