South Korean passenger plane flies with open door, passenger detained

Passenger opens emergency door minutes before landing in Daegu

South Korean airlines open door Asiana Airlines' Airbus A321 plane, of which a passenger opened a door on a flight shortly before the aircraft landed, is pictured at an airport in Daegu, South Korea | Reuters

A passenger who opened the emergency door of a South Korean flight minutes before landing was detained by police on Friday. According to authorities, the flight landed safely and they have started investigation against the passenger. 

“Some people aboard the Asiana Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft tried to stop the person from opening the door but it was eventually opened partially,” the Transport Ministry said.

The plane with 194 people was heading to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. The flight is normally about an hour, and details of the incident, including how long the door was open, were under investigation, according to Asiana Airlines.

Video footage, apparently taken by a person on board that was posted on social media, show some passengers' hair being whipped by the air blowing into the cabin through the open door.

“Police detained the unidentified person who opened the door,” the airline said. Their motive wasn't immediately known.

The passengers included teenage athletes who plan to attend track and field competitions in Ulsan, another southeastern city. The incident terrified some passengers but no one was injured, though some passengers were assessed at a hospital, Asiana and Transport Ministry officials said. 

Reuters reported the plane landed safely at 12.40pm and nine teenage passengers were rushed to the hospital after they complained of breathing issues. 

Reuters quoted an official of Transport Ministry saying that it was possible to open the emergency exit when the aircraft was near the ground as the pressure inside and outside the cabin were similar. ”The plane was two or three minutes away from landing when the male passenger sitting next to an emergency exit opened a cover and pulled a lever so the door opened with the plane about 200 metres (656 ft) off the ground,” Reuters quoted an Asiana spokesperson as saying. 

(With PTI inputs.)

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines