Man faces jail for opening jet door

Man faces jail for opening jet door

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has launched an investigation after a foreigner ripped open an emergency exit on a Thai Smile jetliner as it was preparing for take-off from Chiang Mai airport.

The man, whose identity was not revealed, has been in police custody since Wednesday, when the bizarre incident took place.

The event occurred as flight WE169 was preparing for take-off on a 3.40pm flight to Bangkok.

After passengers took their seats, a man jumped up and opened the emergency exit over the left wing, causing the inflatable slide to deploy, according to media reports.

The captain promptly aborted the take-off as the man was dragged from the plane by security officials, resulting in a one-hour delay for the 86 passengers on board.

A CAAT source said the regulator is conducting a thorough background check to find out whether the man had any "intention to cause harm".

The suspect faces up to five years in prison if he is found guilty of acting with malicious intent, the source said.

His motive for the action remains unclear, the source added.

Thai Smile has lodged a police complaint over the incident.

An initial investigation found the man may have violated two laws -- the Air Navigation Act, and Section 232 of the Criminal Code, according to deputy police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen.

The latter prohibits a person from acting in a way that may cause harm to other people in vehicles, including aircraft.

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