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Woman Arrested After Attempting to Open Flight Door

July 7, 2010 12:50 PM | News

A commercial flight carrying 131 passengers made an emergency landing in Winnipeg Tuesday afternoon after a passenger attempted to exit the plane mid-flight.

Winnipeg police were called to the James Richardson International Airport at about 2 p.m. to assist the flight, which was travelling from Calgary to Halifax. Police say a 47-year-old woman from St. John’s, Newfoundland allegedly assaulted an airline employee and a 77-year-old male passenger who were attempting to restrain her from opening the plane’s hatch. The elderly man suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Barbara Loretta Morton was arrested in remains in custody. Morton is facing a list of charges, including mischief, assault, and a charge under the Aeronautics Act for failing to comply with instructions of flight/cabin crew.

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. — We’ve learned it was a WestJet flight involved in the incident, and while the airline couldn’t comment specifically on the event, they did provide this statement to ChrisD.ca:

There are several safety features and procedures in place to keep the forward galley safe and to ensure that nobody can open the door of the aircraft while in flight. The doors themselves are impossible to open during flight because of the way they are designed. The doors are called ‘plug doors’ and actually swing inside the doorframe before expanding outwards to close and seal. Once the pilots pressurize the aircraft in flight, the cabin pressure is higher than the pressure outside the aircraft, so it actually pushes the door closed and keeps it tightly sealed.

WestJet spokesperson via e-mail