File photograph.

Man arrested after trying to force emergency exit on Ryanair flight in Spain

The 46-year-old individual allegedly began to kick and punch the nearby seats and insult other passengers on the aircraft, which had been delayed on Saturday

IRENE QUIRANTE

There was drama on board a Ryanair plane bound for Malaga Airport on Saturday, after a man allegedly tried to open the emergency exit on the flight that had suffered a delayed departure from Mahón in Menorca.

The incident gave rise to genuine panic and fear among the passengers, which included minors. The arrested man, a 46-year-old Belgian citizen, apparently boarded the Ryanair plane in a state of intoxication and, after waiting a few minutes in his seat, began to behave aggressively and demand that the flight take off.

According to SUR sources the man began to insult other passengers, kicking and punching the seats next to his and tried to force one of the aircraft’s emergency exits.

Since the passenger was not listening to reason, the Ryanair crew alerted the Guardia Civil and when the officers boarded the plane, which was still on the ground, the man refused to leave the aircraft and put up a struggle. At one point he threw himself into some seats where other passengers were sitting, landing on them, while passengers snapped at the man that there were babies and small children on board to consider.

"It happened when we were about four hours late... it was the straw that broke the camel's back," one of the people who was on the plane and witnessed the altercation told SUR. The tension was increased because of the man's behaviour. "There was a moment when we were scared because there was a baby very close and we were afraid that he would jump on us," he said.

Finally, the man was arrested for resisting authority. The flight on which some 180 people were due to travel was cancelled, although according to sources, the reason why it did not take off to go to Malaga was not the altercation, but because the delay had exceeded several hours.

The passengers, after the long delays and then witnessing the altercation, had to get off the plane to be relocated on other later flights.