Chinese passenger opens emergency exit ‘to get some fresh air’

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An airline passenger on board an internal flight in China sparked a safety scare by yanking open an emergency exit just before a plane was due to take off to “get some fresh air”, according to reports.

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The passenger, on board the Xiamen Air flight from Hangzhou to Chengdu, caused amazed fellow travellers to take a series of snaps on their mobile phones, which were later posted on social media.

The airline’s maintenance team rushed to fix the safety door and the flight took off on time, Hangzhou airport staff told the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Passengers’ photos showed the middle-aged man wearing a blue hooded coat – a first-time flier – poke his head out of the open door, as a stewaress looked on.

“It’s my first time seeing a passenger open the safety door,” one photo circulated online was captioned. “He told the attendants he just wanted some fresh air … hope our flight won’t be delayed for too long.”

Sunday’s flight saga triggered heated debate on social media, with many microbloggers saying the man should have been fined for posing a safety risk to other passengers.

But the airline said it did not plan to penalize the passenger as he had not meant any harm.

“It was his first travel by air,” an airline staff member told the paper. “He did not cause delay or any other direct loss to the airline.”

South China Morning Post