Drunk Sri Lanka cricketer tries opening cabin door at 35,000ft while searching for lavatory

British Airlines’ authorities denied naming the Sri Lanka cricketer © AFP (Representation photo)

London: Jul 2, 2013

A drunk Sri Lanka A cricketer allegedly created panic among the passengers of a British Airways flight from St  Lucia to Gatwick as he tried to open the cabin door while searching for lavatory, at 35,000 feet, according to a report.

The Daily Mail reports that while flying back to London Gatwick after Sri Lanka A’s match against the West Indies, the cricketer allegedly pushed and pulled up the cabin door for up to two minutes while his teammates shouted from behind.

A passenger named Charlene Francis, 26, who witnessed the incident said, “It was pretty frightening. Suddenly he came over and tried to open the cabin door several times. It went on for a few minutes. He was pulling quite heavily.”

“It was very scary. He looked very dazed or drunk. He was very tall and wearing black and red ‘Dre’ headphones. He had a blue polo shirt and the team logo along with his team-mates. Some of his team-mates were shouting and telling him to stop. I was just a few feet away. My mum was really upset. Thank goodness he was stopped,” she said.

“Somebody said they had been drinking for four hours before they got on the plane,” she added.

There were as many as 229 passengers in the flight BA 2158, and the incident happened six hours into the eight-hour flight to London Gatwick.

Mrs Francis, who is on a maternity leave, was accompanied by her mother, brother and one-year-old daughter ‘TJ’.

She also heard him telling the cabin crew aboard the Boeing 777 flight that he had been looking for the toilet — a fact that was later confirmed by the airlines.

“During the flight a man got up and tried to go to the toilet. But instead of going to the toilet he tried to open the aircraft door in mid-flight. The event was linked to an element of alcohol. He explained his mistake and cabin crew accepted it in good faith,” said a spokesperson of the British Airways.

The airlines added: “There was a minor incident onboard the BA2158 service from St Lucia to Gatwick involving a customer who we believe had been drinking. It is impossible to open an aircraft door when it is at high altitude and at no point was the aircraft in any danger.

“Our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with such incidents and offered re-assurance to customers who were sitting near to the door,” the spokesperson added. 

(With inputs from PTI)