While other passengers were still boarding an Air Canada flight on 8 January, one man, instead of taking his seat, proceeded to open a door on the other side of the plane and fell out of the aircraft.
Flight AC056 was supposed to depart Toronto Pearson International Airport and head to Dubai. The Boeing 777 was stationed at the gate while the 319 passengers it was supposed to take to Dubai were boarding. While the rest of the passengers were still going onto the plane through one door, one yet unnamed man, opened another door on the other side of the aircraft, falling 6 metres down onto the tarmac.
The man “had boarded the aircraft normally” and “all of our approved boarding and cabin operating procedures were followed”, Air Canada told Global News. The airline is working with airport and local authorities to investigate the incident, which led to an almost 6-hour delay for the flight.
“Through investigation, it was determined that the individual was in a state of crisis when this incident occurred and suffered relatively minor injuries from falling onto the tarmac”, Peel Regional Police told Global News. The man was apprehended by police and was taken to a local hospital for treating his injuries, however, the motives behind his actions remain unknown.
In a different kind of incident involving Air Canda and its passengers, last year, a disabled man was left to haul himself off the plane after he was refused special assistance. In August 2023, Rodney Hodgins flew with his wife, Deanna, on an Air Canada route from Vancouver to Las Vegas, where the couple planned to celebrate their wedding anniversary. However, when the plane touched down, Hodgins was told he would have no assistance in getting off the craft and that no “aisle seat” (a narrower wheelchair adapted for use on planes) was available for him to use.
To avoid any further disruption, he dragged himself to where his wheelchair was – 12 rows away – a process he described to CBC News as “quite painful”. What’s more, the couple’s special anniversary trip was left in tatters, as Hodgins has explained: “It hurt my legs. For three days I felt terrible on my holiday”. Following the incident, the Canadian government prompted the airline to accelerate its accessibility plan.