Chaos Erupts On Airline After Passenger Forcibly Opens Door

A passenger aboard an Asiana Airlines flight from Jeju Island to Daegu, South Korea, was reportedly in a rush to disembark the airplane that he opened the door minutes before landing.

A 33-year-old man seated next to an emergency exit allegedly opened the door on an Airbus A321-200, which carried nearly 200 people, including 48 schoolchildren.

According to Reuters, when the door was opened, the plane was approximately 700 feet in the air and traveled at about 170 mph.

Baek Hyunwoo, a spokesman for Asiana Airlines, indicated that forcibly opening the airplane’s door would be impossible because of differences in air pressure inside and outside the cabin. Yet, at lower altitudes, there is only a slight difference in air pressure.

“It is particularly dangerous during landing and takeoff, so someone from the flight staff should have stopped that passenger,” said Sohn Myong-hwan, a professor at South Korea’s Sehan University’s aviation maintenance department.

“To me, it seems difficult for the airline can get away from any potential responsibility here,” he said.

Since the plane was descending, the flight attendants were buckled up and were too far away to prevent the man from opening the door.

Footage of the incident taken by another passenger shows all passengers holding on for their lives as wind gusts flooded the cabin.

Sky News reported that some passengers suffered ear discomfort after the door was opened. A 44-year-old passenger told the Yonhap News Agency, “I thought the plane was going to explode. … It looked like passengers next to the open door were fainting.”

A mother of one of the schoolchildren aboard the plane said, “The children were shaking, crying, and frightened. Those sitting near the exit must have been shocked the most.”

Despite the open door, the plane landed safely, with no casualties. 12 passengers, all but one between ages 11 and 16, allegedly hyperventilated. Nine had to be taken to a hospital.

Kim Hyeong-su, an officer in the criminal affairs division of the Daegu Dongbu Police Station, revealed that the man who allegedly opened the door could face charges of violating aviation security laws, The New York Times reported.