Mid-air terror on flight

Butcher Paul Douglas, who owns Weepers on Commercial Street, who stopped a man opening the door of an aeroplane on his way back from holiday in Poland
Butcher Paul Douglas, who owns Weepers on Commercial Street, who stopped a man opening the door of an aeroplane on his way back from holiday in Poland
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A KIRKCALDY man survived a frightening mid-air scare when another passenger tried to open one of the plane’s doors.

Paul Douglas (42) was an hour into a flight to Edinburgh from Poland when his ordeal began.

Mr Douglas, who had been on a stag weekend with friends in Krakow, told the Press: “We had first noticed the man when we were waiting in the departure lounge.

‘‘He came and spoke to us - we could tell that he wasn’t quite right.

‘‘We thought his behaviour was very odd.

Escorted on

“The Polish airport police spoke to him then when it came time to board the flight they escorted him to the front, so he was first to get on. ‘‘

Once we were seated he tried to squeeze in beside us but we told him to go away.

“For the first hour of the flight he walked up and down the aisle continually.

‘‘He’d stand at the back, then the front then he’d go to the back again.

“We were concerned. Myself and at least another dozen passengers spoke to the cabin crew, but they told us that they’d spoken to him and he was fine so there was nothing for us to worry about.

“Then he stood at the main door at the front with some of the emergency instruction cards reading them and looking at the door.

Pandemonium

‘‘You could tell he was trying to work out how to open it.

‘‘He then put on his jacket and rucksack and tried it.

‘‘That was when all hell broke loose.

‘‘It was pandemonium.”

Mr Douglas was one of a number of passengers who tackled the man.

“I tried to get forward to stop him but by the time I did he’d already been restrained by five or six passengers. They tied him up with spare seatbelts and some sat on him.

“We landed in Amsterdam, which was the scariest landing I’ve ever encountered - it was virtually a nose-dive.

‘‘The police and the army took him away.

‘‘They sealed off the area and interviewed everyone. They said we had done the right thing and thanked us.

“In the end, what should have been a two hour flight home eventually took 10.”

Mr Douglas, who owns Paul Weeper’s butcher’s shop in Commercial Street, believes that the man shouldn’t have been allowed to fly, adding: “It was definitely the scariest situation I’ve ever been in.

Terrifying

‘’On the ground you can get away from an incident, there’s no escaping something like that up there.

“It was terrifying.”

A spokesman for Easyjet confirmed the incident and diversion to Amsterdam, and added: “The aircraft landed safely and the passenger was arrested.

‘‘Safety is our number one priority.

‘‘The crew are fully trained to handle such events and at no time was passenger safety compromised.”