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Man prays and says ‘see you in heaven’ before trying to open door mid-flight

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An "intoxicated" man terrified fellow passengers aboard a TUI flight after he tried to open the emergency exit in mid-air.

He was heard making threats before attempting the potentially-fatal act on board the Paphos to Manchester flight.

The plane was forced to divert to Zagreb in Croatia, having already been delayed for hours by staff shortages, theManchester Evening Newsreports.

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Travellers aboard the flight said they saw him consuming something that looked like cocaine and then getting on the floor and praying.

Accounts have claimed that people were screaming as he went to open the emergency door – he was only stopped when passengers leapt into action to restrain him.

The nightmare took place on August 16 and TUI has confirmed the passenger will not be able to travel with them.

Speaking to the MEN Kirsty, who was aboard the flight with her children and husband, said: "TUI allowed an intoxicated and aggressive passenger on our flight. We all felt scared when he first arrived on the plane but flight attendants were still serving him drinks.

"We watched the passenger take cocaine and try to open the plane door. I honestly thought my life was going to be taken. This passenger pointed at me and my children and told us that he would 'see us in heaven'.

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"As he crouched on the floor praying I screamed for help. The only help I received was from my husband who took matters into his own hands to defend and protect everyone on this flight.

"We were left sitting on the airport floor since the early hours of the morning and have now finally been taken to a hotel 20 minutes away from the airport. We have just received a message saying we should be flying back to Manchester at 7.30pm tonight.

"I am just really shocked. It is the lack of communication and support from TUI. The whole thing has just been absolutely horrific."

James Rawcliffe, 38, said: "They said they were going to turn the lights off so people could sleep but then they suddenly went back on and you could see something was happening at the back of the plane.

"There were a lot of people going towards the guy and trying to calm him down. As time went on there was an off duty police officer and he went forward with another volunteer to try and calm the guy down.

"He was getting on his knees and said 'I will see you all in heaven' then he went towards the door to try and open it before three of the guys jumped on him. There was screaming, crying and just blind panic."

A spokesperson for TUI told the M.E.N: "We’re very sorry to all customers impacted by the delay to TOM2731 and subsequent diversion due to a disruptive passenger.

"The health and safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and due to a disruptive passenger the flight was forced to divert to Zagreb, Croatia.

"The passenger was offloaded, was met by Police will not travel with TUI when the flight departs later today. We take a zero-tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour on our flights.

"We understand how frustrating this additional delay will be for our customers and apologise for the on-going delay they now face. We have a TUI team supporting customers in Croatia, we have kept them updated with regular communication, have sourced accommodation and provided meals and refreshments."

The Daily Star has approached TUI for comment.

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