Man who ‘opened a plane door mid-flight’ tells police ‘why he did it’


A passenger who was arrested after a plane door was opened on a domestic aircraft mid-flight has said he was “uncomfortable” and “wanted to get to get off the plane quickly”, according to South Korean media.

The man also told police he was stressed after losing his job, the Yonhap News Agency has reported, citing the country’s Daegu Dongbu Police Station.

Officials have so far only identified the man by his surname “Lee”.

He allegedly opened the door of the Asiana Airlines plane when it was 700 feet (213 metres) above the ground.

It caused panic onboard with footage apparently captured by a passenger showing air blasting through the cabin and whipping some people’s faces and hair.

Nine passengers were taken to hospital with breathing issues.

They were all discharged after about two hours, a fire department official said.

Police sought an arrest warrant for the detained man, who is in his thirties, on Saturday for violation of the Aviation Security Act and other offences, Yonhap added.

Police officers in plain clothes arrest an airplane passenger at Daegu International Airport in Daegu, South Korea, Friday, May 26, 2023, as he is suspected of opening an emergency exit door on an Asiana Airlines plane during a flight. Pic: AP
Police officers in plain clothes arrested the passenger at Daegu International Airport. Pic: AP
An Asiana Airlines plane is parked as one of the plane's doors suddenly opened at Daegu International Airport in Daegu, South Korea,
Pic: AP

The plane, with 194 people on board, was heading to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju in South Korea.

The flight normally takes around an hour and the incident occurred when the plane was approaching the Daegu airport at an altitude of 700ft (213m).

It has not been disclosed how long the door was open.

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The passengers included teenage athletes on their way to a track and field competition and some screamed and cried in panic, Yonhap reported, citing their coach.

It quoted other passengers saying they suffered severe ear pain after the door opened.

Some cabin crew shouted for help from passengers to prevent the door from being opened, the news agency said.

A South Korean Transport Ministry official said on Friday that it was possible to open emergency exits at or near ground
level because the pressure inside and outside the cabin is similar.

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