Asiana Airlines and government officials say a passenger opened an emergency exit door during a flight in South Korea
A passenger opened the emergency exit door during a flight in South Korea on Friday, causing an explosion of air inside the cabin and slightly injuring 12 people, officials said. The plane landed safely.
The Transport Ministry said some people on board the Asiana Airbus A321 tried to stop the person who managed to open the door partially.
A statement from the ministry stated that the airport police detained the person on suspicion of violating the aviation security law. The person’s identity and motives were not immediately revealed.
The ministry said the law bars passengers from handling exit doors and other equipment on board and provides for penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
The plane, carrying 194 passengers, was heading to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. The flight usually takes about an hour, and the accident occurred when the plane was arriving at Daegu Airport at an altitude of 700 feet (213 metres).
A video apparently taken by someone on board and posted on social media shows some passengers’ hair being whipped by the air blowing into the cabin through the open door.
Among the passengers were teenage athletes on their way to participate in track and field events. According to Yonhap news agency, citing their unidentified coach, some screamed and cried in terror.
Yonhap quoted other passengers as saying they had severe ear pain after opening the door. She added that some members of the plane’s crew asked for help from the passengers to prevent the door from being opened.
The Transport Ministry said 12 people had been taken to hospitals for treatment. Daegu emergency officials said the injured were suffering from breathing problems and other minor symptoms.