Johannesburg: A drunk South African lawmaker tried to open an aircraft's emergency door while on a flight to India and may now face criminal charges, his party said.
Dirk Feldman, who was part of a group of parliamentarians headed for Mumbai, allegedly tried to open the emergency exit of the plane in a drunken state during the flight on Saturday.
Mr Feldman, a National Council of Provinces MP with the opposition Congress of the People (Cope) party, was detained for a few hours by Indian security authorities in Mumbai before the Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu arranged for his return to South Africa.
Besides disciplinary investigations, which have been initiated by both Parliament and Cope, Feldman may also be charged for what is considered a very serious offence in that he interfered with the duties of the staff on the plane.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said they would have to act against Mr Feldman.
"For a Member of Parliament to behave like that on an international flight is a very serious matter," Mr Lekota told The New Age newspaper.
He said that Mr Feldman could be charged criminally because he had interfered with flight attendants, caused disruption and put passengers' lives at risk.
The parliamentary delegation was en route to India to share experiences of Parliamentary activities.