Nextjet Pilot Uses Ax to Get Drunk Passenger Out of Bathroom Midflight

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Alexander Smith

Most airline cabin crews use the seat-belt sign and a polite announcement to tell passengers to take their seats — but one pilot in Sweden was forced to wield an ax in flight.

The airman-turned-axman smashed down the bathroom door of his commercial plane after a drunken 53-year-old passenger locked himself inside on Wednesday night, Swedish police told NBC News.

Like most carriers, Sweden's Nextjet says all passengers must be seated on landing. After the man in the toilet failed to respond to cabin crew's calls for him to come out, the pilot took matters into his own hands.

It was not clear if the passenger had been refusing to exit the toilet or had temporarily passed out, a spokeswoman for the Västernorrland Police said.

The passenger was led back to his seat without a struggle after the bathroom door was breached and the British Aerospace ATP propeller plane from Stockholm landed safely in the eastern city of Örnsköldsvik at around 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).

The trouble in the toilet forced the co-pilot to reduce the plane's speed so his colleague could remedy the situation before landing, according to the police spokeswoman. She spoke on condition she not be named in line with department procedure.

Still, the passenger's state of sobriety might not have been a surprise to cabin crew: police said he was almost barred from boarding because he was drunk.

Airport officials in Stockholm, however, had decided he was just about sober enough to fly.

The passenger — who may receive a fine — was held by police after landing until he was picked up by his wife, the police spokeswoman added.