Panic on an Asiana Airlines flight in South Korea. South Korean police detained a man on Friday who opened the door of an Asiana Airlines plane minutes before it was scheduled to land in the city of Daegu, sending passengers into panic.
The Airbus A321-200 aircraft landed safely at around 0340 GMT. He had left the resort island of Jeju an hour earlier, the airport flight schedule showed.
Nine passengers, all teenagers, were sent to hospital after suffering from respiratory problems, an official with the Daegu fire department said.
“I thought the plane was going to explode… It seemed that the passengers by the open door were fainting,” an unidentified 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap News Agency.
The passenger said that the cabin crew had made an announcement during the flight asking if there were doctors on board.
A video broadcast on television, reported to have been filmed by a passenger, showed the moments leading up to landing, with a door open and the wind rushing in as passengers sat nearby.
The Transport Ministry said in a statement that police had detained the man who opened the door and authorities were investigating violations of air safety laws.
A Transport Ministry official told Reuters authorities were investigating whether Asiana Airlines had followed protocols for managing emergency exits.
The official said it was possible to open the emergency exit when the aircraft was close to the ground since the pressure inside and outside the cabin was similar.
The plane was two to three minutes from landing when the passenger sitting next to an emergency exit opened a door and pulled a lever so that the door swung open with the plane about 200 meters (656 feet) above the ground, a report said. Asian spokesperson.
Everyone on board was seated with their seat belts fastened because the plane was about to land, the company spokesman said.
After the incident, footage showed an open emergency door near the plane’s left wing and a deployed escape slide ripped from it.
“It’s particularly dangerous during landing and takeoff, so someone from the flight staff should have stopped that passenger,” said Sohn Myong-hwan, a professor at the aviation maintenance department at South Korea’s Sehan University.
“To me it seems difficult that the airline can escape any potential liability here,” he said.
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