French Tourist Admits She Tried to Open Airliner Door to Smoke While Drunk

A French woman who is terrified of flying admitted in an Australian court Monday that she drunkenly tried to open an airplane door mid-flight to smoke a cigarette.

Sadrine Helene Sellies, 34, was placed on a good behavior bond after pleading guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court to endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Sellies was traveling on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to the east coast city of Brisbane on Saturday when the incident occurred at the start of a three-week Australian vacation with her husband, the court heard.

She walked toward one of the aircraft's emergency exits with an unlit cigarette and a lighter in her hand and began tampering with the door, prosecutors said. But a flight attendant intervened and took Sellies back to her seat.

Sellies was arrested and charged by police on arrival at Brisbane airport.

Defense lawyer Helen Shilton told the court Sellies was terrified of flying and had taken sleeping tablets with alcohol before takeoff.

Shilton said Sellies has no memory of what happened on the flight and that she has a history of sleepwalking.

But Magistrate Gordon Dean sternly warned the woman: "You must understand, if you are on a plane you must behave yourself."

Sellies, who did not speak in court and was aided by a translator, was placed on a 1,000 Australian dollar (US$734; euro623) bond - meaning she will have to pay that amount if she commits another offense in the next 12 months.


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