Kunming authorities arrest two for opening plane’s emergency exits

2015-01-12 01:34:13 GMT2015-01-12 09:34:13(Beijing Time)  Global Times

Police at the international airport in Kunming, Yunnan Province have detained a man and a woman on Saturday for opening three emergency exits on the plane which was about to take off.

The two, who were detained for 15 days, were a tour guide from Beijing surnamed Li for inciting the crowd and disturbing public order, and a young man surnamed Zhao, for opening two of the three emergency doors.

Twenty-five people have been investigated for the incident on a China Eastern Airlines flight which was scheduled to take off Friday evening from Kunming to Beijing with about 150 passengers.

Snow and rain had caused a three-hour delay to the first leg of flight MU2036, which departed from Dhaka in Bangladesh for Kunming, on Friday night, irritating passengers after they learned that the second leg would also be delayed.

The flight was further delayed as snow was removed from the plane before it took off. The plane's air-conditioning system had to be switched off and an elderly woman was reportedly not feeling very well. A dispute soon followed between the passengers and the cabin crew after the co-pilot's explanation failed to appease the crowd.

When the flight, which was almost seven hours behind schedule, was about to take off, three emergency doors were found opened.

Another passenger received a warning for publishing false information, after writing on Sina Weibo that passengers on board opened the exits to stop the plane from taking off when the pilot scolded the passengers.

The incident came after a Chinese passenger pulled open an emergency door just before a plane was about to take off to "get some fresh air" in December 2014, who was let go without any punishment, reported the Nandu Daily.

Diao Weimin, a professor at China's Civil Aviation Management Institute, said opening the emergency door could be regarded as disturbing public order and harming public safety, China National Radio reported.

"Disputes on a delayed flight could be solved in a calm way after the plane lands," Diao said, calling on passengers to safeguard their rights rationally.

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