Saturday, January 10, 2015

Delayed Chinese passengers force open plane doors 'for fresh air'

Passengers on a flight to Beijing opened three emergency exits "to get fresh air" just moments before take-off after becoming irritated at delays caused by snow.

Police are investigating 25 people over the incident on the China Eastern Airlines flight, whose leg from Kunming in Yunnan province to Beijing was subsequently cancelled.

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.

Some of the passengers who were continuing to Beijing became annoyed after learning the second leg would also be delayed for more than two hours, from 8.45pm to around 11pm, the China News Service reported.

Some initially refused to reboard the plane and demanded compensation, but were talked around and all boarded by 1.40am.

However, they became unruly and used "strong language" when airport staff took more than an hour to clear snow off the aircraft. When the flight began taxiing after being cleared for take-off at 3.17am - almost seven hours behind schedule - they allegedly opened three emergency exits, forcing it to stop.

Some reports cited a Weibo user's post - subsequently removed - that said a fiery dialogue between the pilot and passengers had made them even angrier.

According to the post, air conditioning had been turned off at about 3am, and some passengers had found it hard to breathe. They asked to get off the plane for fresh air, but the crew members refused.

The post said the pilot then shouted: "Are you going to die soon? If not, just wait."

The plane began to move soon after, catching some passengers off guard and causing them to fall over, it said.

Reports by state media said all crew members acted according to procedures and did not use unsuitable language.

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