A passenger of a South Korean flight opened an emergency exit door while it was still mid-air, however, the plane landed safely, officials said. According to the Associated Press, people aboard the Asiana Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft tried to stop the passenger from opening the door but were unsuccessful as the door eventually opened partially, the Transport Ministry said. The passenger was detained. The plane with 194 landed at Daegu airport at about 12:40pm (0340 BST) after departing from the island of Jeju an hour earlier.
Details of the incidents including the time of the flight which is usually about an hour and the timestamp of how long the door was opened for are being probed. The passengers included teenage athletes who plan to attend track and field competitions in Ulsan, another southeastern city.
Authorities said that they are questioning the passenger who opened the door though the motive of the passenger was not immediately known. The Guardian quoted one official who said, “Police are investigating the incident after a passenger who was sitting near the emergency exit said he touched its lever.”
However, the plane was a few minutes from landing when a male passenger sitting next to an emergency door opened a cover and pulled a lever so the door opened about 200 metres (656ft) above ground, an Asiana spokesperson said.
A man has been arrested for opening emergency door of an #AsianaAirlines flight during landing with its door still open at Daegu International Airport on Friday.
All 194 passengers survived, but some had breathing problems. pic.twitter.com/ElSxtOYyum
— Hamza Bayrak (@bayrakhamza_) May 26, 2023
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. Though no passengers were injured, some had to be hospitalised.