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26th May 2023

Terrifying moment passenger opens plane door mid-flight

Charlie Herbert

Passenger opens plane door

Some passengers needed to be taken to hospital

A passenger managed to realise many people’s worst nightmare when they opened a plane door mid-flight.

Video footage of the terrifying incident shows wind billowing into the Asiana Airlines aircraft as those onboard hold on for dear life.

The door opened after a passenger grabbed the emergency exit lever on the door whilst the plane was still 650ft above ground and preparing for its descent towards Daegu, South Korea.

Witnesses said that children were shaking and crying with fear, and some passengers were so scared that they had to be taken to hospital with breathing difficulties when the plane landed.

Police have detained a male passenger in his 30s for questioning on suspicion of attempting to force the door open while the plane was preparing for landing, Yonhap News reports.

It is not yet clear why he decided to open the door.

Some people on board tried to stop the man from opening the door but were unsuccessful, the Transport Ministry said. 

“Police are questioning him jointly with the land and transport ministry over aviation safety laws violations,” the ministry said. 

“Under these laws, a person who opens a plane door without authorisation is subject to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.”

Among the 194 passengers were 48 elementary and middle-school athletes who were travelling to compete in a national sports event on Saturday in the nearby city of Ulsan.

“Children quivered and cried in panic,” the mother of one of the athletes said. “Those sitting near the exit must have been shocked the most.”

A 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap that it was ‘chaos’ on the flight after the door was opened.

“It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board through broadcasting while others were running down the aisle in panic,” the passenger said.

“I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this.”

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