By HYUNG-JIN KIM (Associated Press)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A passenger opened an emergency exit door during a plane flight in South Korea on Friday, causing an air burst inside the cabin and slightly injuring 12 people, officials said. The plane landed safely.
Some people on board the Asiana Airlines Airbus A321 tried to arrest the person, who managed to partially open the door, the transport ministry said.
The person was arrested by airport police on suspicion of violating aviation security law, according to a ministry statement. The person’s identity and motive were not immediately disclosed.
The law prohibits passengers from tampering with exit doors and other equipment on board and provides for penalties of up to 10 years in prison, the ministry said.
The plane with 194 people on board was heading for the southeast city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. The flight normally lasts about an hour and the incident occurred as the plane reached Daegu airport at an altitude of 700 feet (213 meters).
Video apparently taken by someone on board and posted on social media shows some passengers’ hair being whipped by air blowing into the cabin through the open door.
The passengers included teenage athletes on their way to an athletics competition. Some screamed and cried in panic, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing their unidentified coach.
Yonhap quoted other passengers as saying they suffered severe ear pain after opening the door. He indicated that some cabin crew members shouted for help to the passengers to prevent the door from opening.
Twelve people were transported to hospitals for treatment, according to the Ministry of Transport. Emergency officials in Daegu said the injured were suffering from respiratory problems and other minor symptoms.