Arrest At Gatwick

A 22-year-old holidaymaker who tried to open the doors of a plane at 36,000 feet has been arrested, police said today.

The drama happened on Thomson Airways flight TOM1269 from Palma, Majorca, to Newcastle in the early hours of yesterday.

The flight, packed with returning tourists, had to be diverted to Gatwick after the passenger turned violent.

Witnesses said friends of the man tried to restrain him as he attempted to open the door, and he was said to have shouted: ``It's OK, we are just on a simulator.''

Passengers were said to have helped cabin crew wrestle him into a seat and he was tied up with seat belts.

A Thomson Airways spokeswoman said: ``The man, in his twenties, was restrained by cabin crew after he attempted to open one of the doors of the aircraft during the flight.

``He also displayed aggressive and violent behaviour towards cabin crew and other passengers.''

The man, from Ashington, Northumberland, was arrested by police at Gatwick and the flight carried on to Newcastle, arriving almost three hours later than planned, just before 5am.

The spokeswoman said: ``We would like to reassure customers that it would not have been possible for this passenger to open the aircraft door whilst the aircraft was in the air due to the pressure inside the cabin.

``We would also like to reassure our customers that incidents of this type are extremely rare and that their safety is our first priority at all times.''

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said a 22-year-old man from Ashington in Northumberland arrested at Gatwick Airport yesterday on suspicion of endangering the safety of an aircraft had been bailed to November 8 pending further inquiries.

She said there were no reported injuries and no weapons were involved