Man arrested after attempting to light fire on board Chinese flight

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
The man was arrested by police when the plane landed.
The man was arrested by police when the plane landed.

A man was arrested after being restrained by passengers and crew members when he attempted to light a fire on board a Chinese flight.

The attempted arson occurred at around 1am aboard a Shenzhen Airlines flight from the city of Taizhou to Guangzhou, the Chinese civil aviation administration said.

It said an investigation was under way but gave no other details.

Photographs posted on newspaper websites showed a partially charred passenger seat and a blackened emergency exit door.

Official broadcaster CCTV and other state media reported that the pilot issued a mayday call and the plane was guided into Guangzhou airport. Slides were deployed and 95 passengers and nine crew members were evacuated. Two people were injured.

The incident appears to point to a serious breakdown in security at Taizhou airport. China bans the carrying of cigarette lighters and flammable substances, including spirits, aboard all flights.

A statement from Shenzhen Airlines confirmed the incident but offered no additional details.

It was the latest in a rash of dangerous incidents aboard Chinese flights, including passengers opening emergency exits and fights between passengers and crew members.