south korean passenger plane flies with open door, some faint while others report breathing issues
An unidentified man in his 30s has been detained for opening the emergency exit door of an Asiana Airlines flight heading from the southern island of Jeju to the southeastern city of Daegu.
Although all 194 passengers onboard survived the flight, some fainted while others reported breathing problems and were rushed to hospital, local media reported.
Flight OZ8124, an Airbus A321-200 jet, had taken off for its destination on Friday around 11:45 local time. But as it was about to land an hour later and was still 250 m above ground, a male passenger tried to open the emergency door, causing air to gust inside the cabin.
Some people aboard tried to stop him, but the door was eventually opened partially, the Transport Ministry informed. Flight attendants failed to stop the suspect as the plane was about to land, witnesses recollected before local media.
They said the man had even tried to jump out into the air after opening the emergency door.
A video apparently recorded by a passenger and shared on social media shows the gap in the left-hand side of the aircraft and passengers’ hair being whipped by the wind.
Passengers tried describing the chaotic situation. One 44-year-old passenger revealed the panic onboard before Yonhap, describing people close to the door appearing to faint and flight attendants calling out for medical professionals onboard.
Several school-age children were also on the flight, on their way to attend track and field competitions in Ulsan, another southeastern city. The mother of one of the teenage athletes told the news agency: “The children were shaking, crying, and frightened.”
The motive remains unclear. According to the police, the suspect hasn’t yet offered any explanation for his actions, nor was he intoxicated at the time of his arrest. “It is difficult having a normal conversation with him,” an official informed.