A passenger onboard a Thai Airways A320 aircraft suffered a panic attack and forced open the aircraft’s door, inadvertently deploying the emergency slide.
The incident occurred on February 7, 2024 on flight TG 121, shortly before the flight took off from Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
The A321’s doors had been closed and armed, and the aircraft was lining up on the runway when a 40-year old Canadian national, identified as Wong Sai Heung, 40, began to scream and demanded flight attendants open the door so he could leave.
When his requests were not met, he allegedly bolted to the nearest exit, the L1 passenger door just behind the aircraft’s cockpit, and forced the exit door open, deploying the emergency slide.
A fellow passenger and a flight attendant were able to subdue Wong, who was handed over to airport security officers.
Due to the emergency slide being activated, the aircraft was stuck on the runway for quite some time, resulting in other flights being delayed. In total, 13 flights were disrupted, including eight inbound flights, three outbound flights, and two diverted flights.
During investigations, Wong told police that he worked as a computer engineer in Vancouver, and explained that he suffered from panic disorder, which was triggered before the flight was set to take off.
Wong also said he believes that he was being stalked by an underground organization, which fueled his desire to immediately leave the aircraft. Wong was arrested and still remains in police custody.
The A321 was taken to a gate for checks and maintenance, and was able to depart for Bangkok at 00:43 the following day, about three hours behind schedule.