Terrifying moments as passenger opens plane door midair on flight
Asiana Airlines: passenger opens plane door midair on flight
On Friday afternoon, as an Asiana Airlines flight was preparing to land in Daegu, South Korea, the plane’s door opened, sending a gust of wind through the cabin as terrified passengers clutched their armrests.
A representative of the airline stated that a man in his 30s sitting in the emergency seat appeared to have opened the door when the plane was approximately 700 feet (213 metres) above the ground and two to three minutes away from landing in a city 150 miles (240 kilometres) south of Seoul.
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However, company representatives informed reporters that the plane had landed safely.
The local police reported an arrest. They reported that he admitted to opening the door but refused to explain why.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport of South Korea issued a statement on Friday stating that police and the ministry were investigating a person for violating aviation law.
The statement said that anyone who violates the Aviation Security Act, which prohibits passengers from operating aircraft doors, exits, or equipment, could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
The ministry also stated that it had dispatched an aviation safety supervisor to the site to determine if aircraft maintenance was abnormal.
Asiana Airlines reports that there were 200 people on board, 194 of whom were passengers.
According to the Daegu Fire Department, twelve individuals sustained minor injuries due to hyperventilation, and nine of them were transported to Daegu hospitals.
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The aircraft was identified as an Airbus 321 on the Flightradar 24 tracking website.
The aircraft was en route from Jeju island, off the southern coast of South Korea, to Daegu.
Geoffrey Thomas of Airline Ratings, an expert in aviation, described the incident as “very bizarre.”
“Technically, it’s not possible to open those doors while in flight,” he told newsmen.
Thomas observed that the landing speed of an A321 is approximately 150 knots (172 mph), indicating that the aircraft is passing through winds of that speed. He stated that the door behind the wing of the aircraft opened into the airflow.
“It seems implausible that the door could have been opened in the first place, and then against the airstream, which is technically impossible, but somehow or another it has happened,” Thomas said.
“The cabin pressure is adjusted automatically based on the aircraft’s altitude.” When the aircraft is at a high altitude, the door cannot be opened, but when the altitude is low and the aircraft is close to landing, the door can be opened.
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