Passenger opens plane door mid-air on Asiana flight

SEOUL: A passenger managed to open an emergency exit on an Asiana Airlines flight as it was preparing to land, the carrier said.

It said the plane landed safely but several passengers were hospitalised.

The Airbus A321-200 was carrying nearly 200 passengers as it approached the runway at Daegu International Airport, about 240km southeast of Seoul, on a domestic flight.

When the plane was still about 200m above the ground, a passenger sitting near the emergency exit “opened the door manually by touching the lever”, the South Korean carrier’s representative said yesterday.

The unexpected opening of the door caused some passengers to suffer from breathing difficulties and some of them had to taken to a hospital after the plane landed safely, the airline said in a statement.

Asiana added that there were no major injuries among the passengers and crew members or damage to the aircraft.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that nine people were hospitalised.

“Police have taken the passenger in for questioning” to find out why the door was opened, Asiana said.

A short video of the incident was shared by Yonhap.

The footage shows wind ripping through the open door in mid-air, with fabric seat-backs and passengers’ hair flapping wildly as some of them shout in surprise.

Another video shared on social media showed passengers sitting in the emergency exit row next to an open door being buffeted by strong winds.

The two male passengers, who are wearing their seatbelts, can be seen wincing as the wind whips around them, while they clutch tightly on the armrests and try and turn away from the door. — AFP

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