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Protesting passenger opens emergency exit and walks along wing of grounded plane in Mexico

An AeroMexico plane taxis on the tarmac of the Benito Juarez International Airport (AP)
An AeroMexico plane taxis on the tarmac of the Benito Juarez International Airport (AP)

A man opened a plane’s emergency door while it was grounded and then walked along its wing in protest at being stuck at a Mexican airport for so long.

Mexico City International Airport staff turned the wingwalker over to police after the incident on Thursday but fellow passengers have co-signed a letter to back his stand.

They wrote that he took action when the airline, AeroMexico, made them wait for four hours without ventilation or water while the flight was delayed.

According to photos of the statement posted online, fellow passengers said he acted "to protect everyone, with the support of everyone".

The airport said in a statement that "yesterday a passenger on a flight to Guatemala opened an emergency door on a plane while it was stationary at a remote position, stood on a wing and then re-entered the cabin, without affecting the aircraft or anyone else".

"In line with international security regulations, this person turned himself over to the authorities," it said.

At least 77 passengers aboard the AeroMexico flight to Guatemala signed a statement handwritten on notebook paper, photos of which were posted on social media, supporting the man's actions.

"The delay and lack of air created conditions that endangered the health of the passengers. He saved our lives," according to the statement.

Passengers walk at Benito Juarez International airport in Mexico City (REUTERS)
Passengers walk at Benito Juarez International airport in Mexico City (REUTERS)

An incident report filed with airport authorities largely confirmed that version.

"Around 11.37am, a Mexican airline reported the beginning of a disturbance due to passenger discontent on flight AM672," according to the report. "The flight had been due to lift off at 8.45am Thursday, but because of a maintenance alert on the plane, the captain had to return to the gate for the required maintenance."

"The passengers were unhappy and one of them opened the emergency door and stepped out on the wing," the report said. "This event required the plane to be changed."

Airport authorities did not identify the man, and they declined to comment on whether he remains in custody or faces charges.

Flight tracking sites confirmed that flight AM672 to Guatemala City was delayed for four hours and 56 minutes on Thursday.

A video apparently recorded aboard the flight showed passengers fanning themselves and asking a flight attendant for water.

AeroMexico did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.