Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Man locked in Songshan Airport

By Wu Yueh-hsiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Civil Aero-nautics Administration announced on Saturday that the Taipei Songshan Airport will remind passengers through its broadcasting system of the routine closure of its control area every night.

The decision was made in response to a recent incident where a male passenger was trapped inside the airport's control area after airport workers locked the doors on Tuesday night.

The hapless man, who is in his 50s, was on TransAsia Airways Flight 570, heading to Taipei from Kaohsiung. The plane landed at 10:35pm -- the very last plane for the night.

After the passenger got off the plane 10 minutes later, he entered the restroom on the second floor of the control area.

However, as he was walking out of the restroom three minutes later, the lights suddenly went out. Alone in the dark, he followed the emergency lights to the first floor.

When he finally reached the gate of the control area, he discovered that the doors had already been locked. He tried to call for help but received no response.

As there was no other way for him to escape, at approximately 11pm he chose to break the glass doors so that he could leave the airport.

Although the man repeatedly shouted for help and even broke doors, airport workers and aviation police were unaware of the incident. They later thought that thieves had tried to break into the control area.

Facing strong criticism after the incident, airport workers and aviation police criticized each other.

Airport director Hsiao Ting-ko (蕭登科) said that the aviation police had failed to check the control area on Saturday night.

But the Aviation Police Office claimed that it was the responsibility of airport workers to clear the area.

Hsiao said that the airport would strengthen its security checks before the gate was closed every night to avoid a similar situation from occurring again in future.

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