An Asiana Airlines plane landing in Daegu, South Korea on Friday was shaken by the unexpected opening of an emergency exit door, and nine of them were hospitalized with breathing problems.
Police arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of forcing the door open. The suspect, who could face charges of violating the Aviation Security Law, had not revealed a motive, said Kim Hyeong-su, an officer at the Daegu Dongbu Police Station’s Criminal Affairs Division.
The plane, which took off from Jeju Island at 11:58 a.m., was 700 feet and minutes from landing at 12:38 p.m., when a man sitting in the emergency exit row next to the door forced it open. The airline said. According to FlightAware, the plane was traveling at about 170 mph at that point in the flight.
Normally when the plane is in mid-flight the difference in air pressure inside and outside the cabin prevents the doors from opening. But the plane was so close to the ground that the difference was negligible, allowing the door to be opened, said Baek Hyunwoo, an airline spokesman.
Crew members were unable to stop the man because the nearest flight attendant was seated too far away to reach him in time, and all on board — crew and passengers — must wear seat belts during landing, he added.
Mr. Beck said the plane landed safely and there were no major injuries among the 194 passengers and six crew members. But 12 people — all but one of them between the ages of 11 and 16 — were hyperventilated, a spokesman for the Daegu Fire and Safety Department said. Nine of them were taken to a nearby hospital.