Man, 33, opens plane's emergency exit door before landing at airport in Daegu, Korea

Some passengers fainted while at least nine were sent to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Daniel Seow | May 26, 2023, 07:54 PM

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An Asiana Airlines passenger opened an emergency exit door before the plane landed at Daegu International Airport in Korea on May 26 afternoon.

Fortunately, the plane landed safely and there were no casualties, although at least nine passengers were sent to hospital due to breathing difficulties, according to The Korea Herald.

A 33-year old man was subsequently detained on suspicions of pulling the door lever.

About 200m above ground when the incident happened

This incident reportedly took place at around 12:45 pm, when the plane en route from Jeju Island, with 194 passengers on board,  was about to land at the airport in Daegu.

It was around 200m to 250m above the ground when one of the emergency exit doors was opened by force.

Videos of the incident showed that an emergency exit door of the aircraft was ajar, causing violent gusts of wind to rush in.

Passengers were buffeted by the fierce winds blowing in from the plane's exterior.

A passenger told Yonhap News Agency about the chaos that ensued, saying that the people closest to the door started to "faint one by one", and that flight attendants were calling out urgently for the assistance of any doctors on board.

According to the same passenger, there were passengers running down the aisles in panic.

Some young passengers were crying and screaming when the incident happened, reported The Korea Herald.

This chaos lasted for about 10 minutes until the plane landed safely.

The local fire department stated that more than nine people had suffered minor injuries and were sent to the hospital in Daegu.

Some passengers had breathing difficulties as a result of a fluctuation in air pressure.

The suspect

Asiana Airlines and transport authorities in Korea stated that the suspect was a male passenger sitting in an emergency exit aisle, who pulled the emergency exit lever by force.

The airline crew members were unable to stop him in time as the plane was about to land and no crew member was sitting near the emergency exits.

Witnesses told Yonhap News Agency that the suspect attempted to jump out after opening the door, but he was stopped by other passengers.

The man claimed it was an accident, according to The Korea Herald.

Can be jailed for jeopardising aircraft security

Under Korea's Aviation Security Act, any person who manipulates the entrance, emergency exit or devices, thus hindering the security or flight of an aircraft, can be jailed for up to 10 years.

The man will be held responsible for his actions after police investigations were carried out, Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said.

Top screenshots of video from Khaosod English / Yonhap News Agency on Facebook Watch.