Kiwi man fined for attempting to open aircraft door in midair

Harry escorted by police personnels upon arriving at the Sepang Magistrates’ Court yesterday. —Bernama photo

SEPANG: A Kiwi restaurant manager was fined RM6,000, in default 12 months’ jail, by the Magistrate’s Court here yesterday for attempting to open the door of a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft in midair during a flight from New Zealand to the Kuala Lumpur Internal Airport (KLIA) last Sunday.

Magistrate Mohamad Izwan Mohamed Noh meted out the fine on Cranwell Frazer Harry, 32, who was in the orange prison uniform, from  Auckland, New Zealand, after he pleaded guilty to the charge.

Before handing out the sentence, the magistrate warned Harry, who is from  Auckland, New Zealand, to not repeat his action, which was a serious offence and could endanger the lives of other passengers and crew onboard.

Harry, who was in the dock and with tears rolling down his cheeks, nodded and said, “I promise Sir�.

He was charged with endangering an aircraft and the lives of those onboard by attempting to open the emergency door of the flight MH0130 in midair on its flight from Auckland to KLIA at 11 pm last Aug 12.

The charge was made under Regulation 97 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016, which provides a fine of up to RM50,000 or three years’ imprisonment, or both, upon conviction.

According to the facts of the case, an air stewardess on a flight from New Zealand to Vietnam, with transit at KLIA, saw Harry holding the handle of the emergency door of the aircraft and attempting to open it.

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He was believed to be under the influence of alcohol having consumed five cans of beer and a glass liquor in the flight.

The stewardess then asked Harry to move to another seat and informed the incident to the chief stewardess and the captain.

In mitigation, lawyer Zaflee Pakwanteh, representing Harry, said his client was enroute to Vietnam for a holiday with friends and he regretted his action and apologised for it.

The two days spent in the police lockup had really taught him a lesson, said the lawyer.

Deputy public prosecutor ​​​​​​​Aziatul Afrizan Alias prosecuted. — Bernama