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100 Minutes of Being Locked in SpiceJet Toilet and What Happened When the Door Opened | WATCH

A screengrab from the video recorded by the passenger while being stuck inside the lavatory of the Mumbai-Bengaluru SpiceJet flight.

A screengrab from the video recorded by the passenger while being stuck inside the lavatory of the Mumbai-Bengaluru SpiceJet flight.

Stuck inside the toilet for over 100 minutes after the door lock jammed, the passenger, who was finally rescued, was disembarked last after all the other passengers had deboarded, News18 learnt from a source in the ground crew. A close friend of the passenger has also disputed the airline’s claim that he was offered medical assistance

Horrified, panicked, suffocated and injured. These are the words used by a SpiceJet passenger to describe his ordeal of being locked in mid-air in the lavatory of the Mumbai-Bengaluru flight he was travelling onboard on Tuesday.

Stuck inside the toilet for over 100 minutes after the door lock jammed, the passenger, who was finally rescued, was disembarked last after all the other passengers had deboarded, News18 learnt from a source in the ground crew.

The software engineer working in Bengaluru was returning to the IT city, after visiting his family in Mumbai, onboard SpiceJet’s SG-268 Boeing 737-8 aircraft. The flight was scheduled to take off at 10:45pm from Mumbai but finally became airborne at 2 am.

After boarding the flight, the passenger is said to have entered the toilet after the seat belt sign was switched off, a signal that passengers can use the facilities.

Unable to open the toilet door to exit, he struggled for over 20 minutes to get the attention of the in-flight crew. When he finally managed to alert them, the crew were unsuccessful in unlocking the door which had jammed further due to air pressure.

At first, he was unable to hear what the in-flight attendants were trying to communicate to him. In a state of panic, he pushed himself closer to the door to hear their instructions.

A cabin crew member managed to slip in a note to him to him which read: “Sir, we tried our best to open the door; however, we could not. Do not panic. We are landing in a few minutes, so please close the commode lid and sit on it and secure yourself. As soon as the main door is open, an engineer will come.”

Despite the gravity of the situation, the software engineer recorded himself locked inside the toilet and the attempts made to open the door as evidence of the incident. The video clearly shows the latch in the unlocked position and also records the door knob, but the door remains jammed.

The passenger was advised by the crew in the note to sit on the commode and hold on tight, but the impact of the landing had been such that the passenger was thrown to one side in the absence of a proper seat belt and suffered injuries.

“He told us how he struggled inside the toilet, which had constricted space and the panic of being locked for hours. He was quite shaken up and dazed when he stepped out of the toilet. He could hardly manage to walk,” said one of the staff members who witnessed the rescue.

If the ordeal onboard wasn’t enough, what happened next added insult to injury.

On arrival at the Bengaluru tarmac at around 3:42 am, he had to wait for another 20 minutes until engineers boarded the flight and the door was finally opened. He was handed a bottle of water and provided a car to reach his residence. The SpiceJet staff did not take him to the nearest hospital for a check-up even despite such a major incident, said a close friend of the passenger on condition of anonymity.

“We had to take him to a hospital ourselves. We are looking at filing a formal complaint against the airline,” he said.

A cousin of the passenger also shared the note the cabin crew slipped into the lavatory.

The airline issued a statement following the incident, saying: “SpiceJet regrets and apologises for the inconvenience caused to the passenger. The passenger is being provided with a full refund.”

“On 16 January, a passenger unfortunately got stuck inside the lavatory for about an hour on the SpiceJet flight operating from Mumbai to Bengaluru, while the aircraft was airborne due to a malfunction in the door lock. Throughout the journey, our crew provided assistance and guidance to the passenger. Upon arrival, an engineer opened the lavatory door, and the passenger received immediate medical support,” the statement had added.

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