Foreigner attempts to open exit during Vietnam flight

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A Taiwanese man attempted to open an emergency exit during a Vietnam Airlines flight, VnExpress reported Wednesday.

According to the newswire, the accident happened on the flight from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, to Ho Chi Minh City on November 19.

One hour after the plane took off, 81-year-old Chuang Wen rushed to the exit and tried to open it, but he was stopped by another passenger, VnExpress said.

The man was later asked to go back to his seat, which was quite far from the exit, and was put under the crew's close observation until the plane arrived in HCMC.

Wen later said he mistook the exit for the restroom's door, according to VnExpress.

The Taiwanese man will probably be fined VND10 million to 20 million (US$476 to $952), the source said.

It quoted unnamed leader of the HCMC-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport as saying that Wen's case was rare, because most of the same incidents happen to passengers who are seated next to the exit.

On November 5, Vietnam Airlines delayed a flight from HCMC to Hanoi for about two hours, after a 22-year-old student opened an emergency exit shortly before takeoff.

The student, who was seated next to the exit, said he boarded a plane for the first time and didn't know anything about emergency exits.

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According to authorities of Tan Son Nhat, recently they have improved promoting instructions for passengers when they complete procedures for boarding.

Meanwhile, at a meeting by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam on Tuesday, officials suggested increasing fines on actions threatening flight safety, including opening emergency exits without permission.

The current fines are way too small, just VND15 million ($714) on average, as compared to losses of hundreds of million dong that airliners suffer for each accident, they said.

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