Sri Lanka A cricketer in flight drama
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is investigating an incident involving an A-team player, Ramith Rambukwella, who tried to open a cabin door on board a British Airways flight while the plane was at 35,000 feet because he mistook it for the lavatory. Rambukwella, whose father is a minister in the national government, was part of the Sri Lanka A squad that was returning from their tour of the Caribbean on June 27.
The incident was first investigated by the team manager, Jayantha Seneviratne, who submitted a report to the CEO; that report will now form the basis for an inquiry, which will be carried out by the board's anti-corruption manager, though the incident is unrelated to his usual purview. The results of the inquiry are due before 12 June. SLC said action would be taken against Rambukwella if deemed necessary.
According to an SLC statement, the incident - on board a flight from St Lucia to Gatwick - took place around midnight, when Rambukwella left his seat for the toilet. It said the dim cabin lighting confused the player into mistaking a cabin door for the toilet door. Other passengers brought this to his notice and officials of the Sri Lankan team also led him towards the right door. The player, the statement said, apologised to the passengers and the cabin staff, "who accepted it in good faith."
British Airways were quoted by Daily Mail in the media as saying that staff had reassured passengers that it was impossible to open the pressurised door mid-flight and that at no point was the safety of passengers compromised.
One of the passengers claimed to have witnessed the entire incident. "Suddenly he came over and tried to open the cabin door several times. It went on for a few minutes. He was pulling quite heavily," the passenger said. "The BA flight attendants came running down the aisle and tried to calm him down. He seemed quite disorientated." One witness was reported as saying that the incident was "pretty frightening".