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Briton opened aircraft door in 'air rage' attack

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Briton opened aircraft door in 'air rage' attack
Photo: SAS Group
11:44 CEST+02:00
A British man could face jail in Sweden over an alleged "air rage" incident at Stockholm's Arlanda airport in June. He has been charged with endangering an aircraft after opening an emergency exit while the plane was taxiing to the runway.

"This could have been extremely dangerous," Arlanda police spokesman Åke Granberg told The Local.

The 36-year-old from Aberdeen had boarded a Blue 1 flight to Turku in Finland on June 28th. But as it was preparing for take-off he leapt out of his seat, screaming that he wanted to get off the plane, reported Metro.

Cabin staff tried to calm him and one of the attendants asked if he was having a panic attack.

"I'll give you a fucking a panic attack," he is said to have replied.

The man then tried to break into the cockpit. When that failed, he opened the aircraft's emergency exit, releasing the inflatable slide while the plane.

"That's what made the incident so dangerous," said Åke Granberg.

"The plane was moving and the inflatable slide could have been sucked into the engines causing an explosion."

Instead, the pilot was able to stop the plane and the cabin crew overpowered the man, who was taken away by Arlanda police.

During questioning, the man said that he could not remember anything about the incident, said Granberg.

"He remembered that he had been at the airport and he remembered how he had got there. But after that the next thing he was aware of was being in custody," said Granberg.

According to Metro, the man was later found to have buprenorphine, a narcotics class preparation used for treating drug addicts, in his blood.

The man has no previous convictions and is said to be shocked by the incident.

"He says he can't admit or deny anything as he can't remember what happened," said his lawyer Ghita Hadding Wiberg.

"He can't understand his behaviour - he's obviously concerned and frightened."

The man has said that he is prepared to reimbuirse the airline for the cost of his actions - a bill estimated to be 171,000 kronor (26,000 dollars).

But prosecutor Ann Alheim told The Local that he could also face up to a year behind bars.

"He put the plane's safety in danger and that's significant under the law. His punishment will depend on the psychiatric evaluation but if he's found to be healthy then it could be one year - but that's just a guess," she said.

The preliminary hearing will be held at Attunda district court on Friday. If the court decides that the case should proceed then the man will undergo a psychiatric assessment within the next two weeks.

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