A passenger on a Lion Air flight, serving the Manado-Jakarta route, forced open the emergency exit of the plane due to excessive heat in the cabin when the aircraft was ready for take off on the runway at Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi, on Monday.
“The air-con was not working. It was very hot inside the cabin and we began to panic. Some passengers even got hysterical,” a passenger, Jekson Wenas, said as quoted by kompas.com.
Jekson said that they were supposed to depart at 9:45 a.m. local time, but the flight was delayed for around an hour.
In the cabin, he said, passengers started complaining to flight attendants and the pilot about the lack of air-conditioning.
The distressed passengers asked to be allowed to leave the plane.
“The chaotic situation went on for around 30 minutes. Rather than addressing our problems, the pilot put the aircraft into take-off position,” Jekson added.
At the same time, a passenger opened an emergency exit. The passenger’s act forced the pilot to return to the parking area and all passengers had to leave the aircraft.
Jekson criticized the poor service provided by Lion Air management after the incident occurred.
“We had to wait for hours at the airport. No Lion Air officials were on hand. Nobody told us when we would get another flight,” he added.
State airport-management company PT Angkasa Pura spokesman, Allan Pusung, said that based on information from Lion Air, the air-conditioning in the aircraft was fine.
“Because the aircraft was not fully operational, the air-conditioning system was not fully functioning either. Once the plane took off, the air-conditioning system would have been normal,” Pusung said as quoted by tempo.co. As of Monday evening, Lion Air had yet to comment on the incident. The Jakarta Post