Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 17:54 UK

Women try to open door mid-flight


Passenger video of the moment when the women were arrested

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Germany after two British women tried to open a cabin door mid-flight, police have said.

The women, aged 26 and 27, were drinking heavily and had to be held in their seats by security staff until the plane landed in Frankfurt.

They were arrested and released after two hours, Frankfurt police said.

The XL Airways plane was flying from the Greek island of Kos to Manchester when Wednesday's incident happened.

An airline spokeswoman said the women were thought to have been smoking in the plane's toilet, and were suspected of bringing their own alcohol on board.

She said they had started to swear at and threaten staff who refused to sell them any more alcohol from the bar.

The women had then said they wanted to open the door to get "some fresh air" into the plane.

A map

"Their language was totally unacceptable, as was their behaviour. They were very abusive and threatening," the spokeswoman said.

"We won't tolerate this sort of behaviour. The cabin crew did an excellent job and were very professional."

Reuters news agency reported that the 26-year-old woman tried to strike a flight attendant with a vodka bottle.

The incident happened at an altitude of about 10,000m (32,808ft) while the plane was flying over Austria.

We won't tolerate this sort of behaviour
XL Airways spokeswoman

Hartmut Scherer, a spokesman for police at Frankfurt International Airport, said the captain had thought the best option would be to make an unscheduled stop in Frankfurt and remove the women from the plane.

"Someone from the security held them in their seats until the landing," he said.

Two-hour delay

The women face charges of grievous bodily harm and violating air traffic regulations, according to Reuters.

The flight, XLA 237, which left Kos at 1445 BST, had 214 passengers and seven crew on board.

After stopping at Frankfurt, it later flew on to Manchester after a two-hour delay, landing at 1825 BST.

Meanwhile the women were questioned by police but released and allowed to return to the UK.

The XL Airways spokeswoman said the airline was considering taking legal action against the woman.

Mr Scherer said police were deciding whether to press charges, adding that the pair could also be fined or forced to pay compensation.

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