Passenger Arrested After Plane Lands With Open Door

9 hospitalized after 'very bizarre' incident on South Korean airline
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2023 4:00 AM CDT
Airline Says Passenger Opened Door Before Landing
The Asiana Airlines plane is parked at Daegu International Airport in Daegu, South Korea, Friday, May 26, 2023.   (Yun Kwan-shick/Yonhap via AP)

A passenger opened an emergency exit door during a South Korean flight Friday, causing air to gust inside the cabin before the plane landed safely, airline and government officials said. 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 AP reports. The flight is normally about an hour, and details of the incident are under investigation, according to Asiana Airlines. The Daegu Fire Department says nine people who had breathing difficulties were hospitalized.

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. The passenger who opened the door, a man in his 30s, was arrested upon landing, according to South Korean media. The door was reportedly opened a few minutes before landing, when the aircraft was around 700 feet above the ground.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas tells CNN that the incident is "very bizarre" and "technically, it’s not possible to open those doors in flight." He says the door would have opened into an airstream with winds about 170mph. "It seems implausible that the door could be opened in the first place and then against the airstream technically impossible, but somehow or another it has happened," he says.

(More Asiana Airlines stories.)

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