Drunk Politician Tries to Exit Airborne Plane

By Gabrielle Wuhl 07/09/12

The over-refreshment of a South African MP en route to India causes acute embarrassment.

Wait until it lands. Photo via

After a few too many in-flight refreshments, South African member of parliament Dirk Feldman decided to disembark early from his trans-continental flight—attempting to exit via the aircraft's emergency door while thousands of feet up in the air. The MP, a member of his country's Congress of the People (COPE) party, was en route to Mumbai as part of an official parliamentary delegation. He arrived in notably undiplomatic style—and after several hours of detention by Indian security authorities, he was sent back to Johannesburg in disgrace. "He had too much to drink and they say he lost his inhibitions," says COPE's chief whip Dennis Bloem, with admirable understatement. South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party—which COPE split from in 2008—issued a statement condemning Feldman's "in-flight drunken escapades" and claiming that his behavior "places this Parliament and the country in a negative light both internationally and at home." It's been a spectacular few days for the image of international politicians, what with Jordanian MP Mohammed Shawabka pulling a gun during a TV debate last Thursday. But Feldman can at least reflect that when it comes to going "overboard" on planes, he keeps the glittering company of Kelly Osbourne, Dutch rehab magnate Bas de Bont and actor Gerard Depardieu.

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