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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Canada pilot in toilet trip drama
Passengers on a Canadian plane had an unsettling in-flight experience after the pilot found himself locked out of the cockpit after a trip to the toilet.

Instead of slipping back inside, the Air Canada Jazz pilot was seen banging on the door and talking to his first officer on an internal phone.

Crew members were forced to take the door off its hinges to let him back in.

An airline spokeswoman said the first officer could have landed the flight by himself, and there had been no danger.

'Rare occurrence'

The incident happened on an internal flight from the Canadian capital Ottawa to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The pilot went to use the toilet at the back of the Bombardier CRJ-100 plane, which carries about 50 passengers, with about 30 minutes of the flight left to go.

The safety and security of our passengers was never compromised
Manon Stuart
Air Canada Jazz

On his return, he found the door jammed, and it eventually had to be removed to let him back in. The plane landed safely.

Air Canada Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stuart said the first officer had remained on the flight deck throughout, and that the plane had not started its descent when the incident occurred.

The door malfunction was a "rare occurrence", she said in a statement. "To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time we've encountered this problem in flight.

"We investigated this matter and found that the crew followed our standard operational procedures, which are in full compliance with the security regulations governed by Transport Canada.

"The safety and security of our passengers was never compromised."

She added that passengers had remained calm during the incident, the AFP news agency reported.

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