An anxious passenger opened an emergency exit door on a plane on a runway at Thanh Hoa Airport, delaying a subsequent flight and sending 23 Ho Chi Minh City-bound passengers to Hanoi, on Monday.
Problems began when Pham Ninh Minh, a passenger on Flight VN270, opened the plane’s emergency exit at 2:20 p.m. on July 21 while it was taxiing to its gate in the north-central province.
The incident forced a team of engineers to re-secure the exit door, causing a 1 hour and 40 minute delay for passengers who scheduled to take the same plane to Ho Chi Minh City.
The airline determined to offload 23 passengers whose seats were located near the opened emergency exit for safety reasons.
The group was loaded into a car to catch another Ho Chi Minh City-bound flight in Hanoi -- 140 kilometers away.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), unnecessarily opening an emergency exit is punishable by fines ranging from VND10 to 20 million (US$474-948).
Incidents of passengers attempting to open and opening emergency exit doors are reported quite frequently in Vietnam.
Three months ago, the CAAV fined a Vietnam Airlines passenger VND20 million ($948) for opening an emergency exit while a plane was about to take off.
Tran Van Binh reportedly opened the door after the other passengers had settled into their seats on a flight bound from Hanoi to the Central Highlands town of Pleiku on April 14.