Seoul, South Korea
The door of an Asiana Airlines jet opened to land in Daegu, South Korea, on Friday afternoon, sending wind blowing through the plane’s cabin as terrified passengers grabbed their armrests, video of the incident showed.
An airline official said the plane was about 700 feet (213 meters) above the ground and about two or three minutes from landing about 150 miles (150 miles) away from the city when a man in his 30s who was sitting in an emergency seat apparently opened the door. 240 kilometers) south of Seoul.
However, airline officials told CNN that the plane landed safely.
Local police said one person has been arrested. They said he admitted to opening the door but did not say why he did it.
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement on Friday that police and the ministry were investigating a man for allegedly violating aviation laws.
Any person who violates the Passenger Aviation Safety Act by operating doors, exits or equipment inside the aircraft can be jailed for up to 10 years, the statement said.
The ministry also said it had dispatched an aviation safety supervisor to the spot to check for abnormalities in aircraft maintenance.
According to Asiana Airlines, a total of 200 people were on board, including 194 passengers.
Daegu Fire Department
Injured Asiana Airlines passengers were taken to a Daegu hospital after the plane’s door opened from Jeju shortly before landing.
According to the Daegu Fire Department, 12 people suffered minor injuries from hyperventilation, nine of whom were sent to hospitals in Daegu.
The flight was identified as an Airbus 321 on the FlightRadar24 tracking website.
The jet was en route from Jeju Island on South Korea’s southern coast to Daegu.
Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas of Airline Ratings described the incident as “very strange”.
“Technically, you can’t open those doors on an airplane,” he told CNN.
Thomas noted that the A321’s landing speed is about 150 knots (172 mph), which means the wind is passing the plane at that speed. A door behind the plane’s wing opened into that airway, he said.
“At first it seemed incredible that the door could open, then technically impossible, but somehow or other it happened,” said Thomas.
Asiana Airlines told CNN: “The aircraft will automatically adjust the cabin pressure according to the altitude of the aircraft. When the plane is high in the air, the door cannot be opened, but when the altitude is low and close to landing, the door can be opened.