This is the shocking moment a tourist tries to open a passenger plane door during take-off in Thailand after suffering a panic attack.
Canadian tourist Wong Sai Heung, 40, reportedly experienced a panic attack and tried to exit the Airbus A320 as it was departing from Chiang Mai International Airport yesterday evening.
Passengers had already boarded, the doors had been shut and a tractor had pushed the plane back off the apron, marking the official start of the journey.
But Heung, a computer engineer from Vancouver, sparked alarm when he suddenly screamed, left his seat, and demanded the flight attendants open the plane door on Thai Airways flight TG121.
He allegedly ran towards the door behind the cockpit and pushed it open, causing the slide to deploy while the plane was in the queue to join the runway.
Wong Sai Heung being apprehended on the plane. Heung, 40, reportedly experienced a panic attack and tried to exit the Airbus A320 as it was departing from Chiang Mai International Airport yesterday evening
Heung being escorted off the aircraft. Police officers stormed into the vehicle and arrested him and he was detained at the Phu Ping Ratchaniwet district police station
The scene at Chiang Mai International Airport. The North American tourist’s alleged outburst also disrupted other arriving flights, which had to wait in a holding pattern in the sky while departing planes were also delayed
Frightened passengers could be seen in footage talking to one another during the commotion and an anxious Heung is then guided to his seat by airline staff.
Police officers stormed into the vehicle and arrested the holidaymaker. He was detained at the Phu Ping Ratchaniwet district police station.
Speaking today in handcuffs, he said: ‘I was very paranoid and had anxiety, it was the thing I had last time on the trip to Vietnam, but it’s pretty much, the second big trip, but it was a big panic attack. I thought I was getting killed in that spot. I’m not doing well.’
A spokesman said today: ‘Officers arrested 40-year-old Canadian computer engineer Wong Sai Heung for causing an act likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft.
‘Heung testified confusingly and he claimed he had a panic attack. He was detained before questioning further and the Canadian Embassy, Tourist Police, and an interpreter to assist in the investigation have been brought in to assist with the investigation.
‘The airport’s legal department is also now involved with checking potential additional charges according to aviation laws.’
The North American tourist’s alleged outburst also disrupted other arriving flights, which had to wait in a holding pattern in the sky while departing planes were also delayed.
The other disgruntled passengers onboard the jet were taken to a hotel as they waited for their flight to Bangkok to be rescheduled.
One of the passengers, Watcharapon Pethsurp, said: ‘A plane was about to take off but someone panicked and tried to open the door.
Passengers on the plane. Heung sparked alarm when he suddenly screamed, left his seat, and demanded the flight attendants open the plane door
‘As far as I know, at 9.45 PM, the plane was about to leave before there was a scream and then an announcement from a flight attendant saying that someone panicked and attempted to leave through the exit, causing it to slide open.
‘The plane was unable to fly, and we had to wait for the mechanics to take it back to the pit stop.’
The flight was originally set to depart Chiang Mai at 9.05 pm and arrive at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok around an hour later.
Wing Commander Ronakorn Chalermsanyakorn, Director of Chiang Mai Airport, said the control tower reported to the airport that the plane was preparing for take-off when the door was opened.
He said: ‘A passenger opened the plane door, causing the seat to slide and spread out, resulting in the aircraft being unable to fly and it was stuck in the middle of the runway, resulting in other flights being unable to take off and take off at Chiang Mai Airport for a while.’
In a statement regarding the incident, state-owned Thai Airways said: ‘Thai Airways would like to explain the incident on flight TG 121 route Chiang Mai – Bangkok on February 7 with Airbus A320 plane while lining up for take-off at the runway.
‘There was a passenger who opened a plane door, prompting the mechanics to be sent for inspection and repair according to security standards.
‘The flight was able to depart on February 8 at 12.34 am with all passengers, pilots, and flight attendants safely onboard.’
Heung at the police station. Police said today that Wong Sai Heung has been charged and held in custody. He was not under the influence of drink or drugs when he was arrested
Police said today that Wong Sai Heung has been charged and held in custody. He was not under the influence of drink or drugs when he was arrested.
Lieutenant Colonel Nattawut Noisorn, deputy superintendent of Phu Ping Ratchaniwet Police Station, said: ‘The inquiry officer has charged Wong Sai Heung with two offences.
‘First, rendering an airplane to be in a condition likely to cause danger to a person, according to Section 232(1) of the Criminal Code.
‘Second, violating or failing to comply with an order of the aircraft commander or that of crew members giving such order on behalf of the aircraft commander, which are orders for the maintenance of safety of the aircraft or persons or property on board, according to Section 7 Paragraph 2 of the Certain Offences against Air Navigation Act.’
The policeman said that officers are now also coordinating with the airport over any additional charges.
He added: ‘The suspect may face further charges for aviation offences, which are currently being processed by the relevant organisations.
‘Additionally, if the 13 airlines affected by the incident decide to file a report, he could face additional charges.’