South Korean authorities detain passenger after Asiana plane door opened mid-air
A video aired on television, reported to have been shot by a passenger, showed the moments before the landing, with a door open and wind rushing in as passengers sat nearby.
The transport ministry said in a statement police had taken into custody the man who had opened the door and authorities were investigating violations of aviation safety laws.
A transport ministry official told Reuters that authorities were looking into whether Asiana Airlines had followed protocols to manage emergency exits.
The official said it was possible to open the emergency exit when the aircraft was near the ground as the pressure inside and outside the cabin were similar.
The plane was two or three minutes away from landing when the male passenger sitting next to an emergency exit opened a cover and pulled a lever so the door opened with the plane about 200m off the ground, an Asiana spokesperson said.
All onboard were seated with seat belts fastened because the plane was about to land, the spokesperson said.
After the incident, pictures showed an open emergency door near the plane’s left wing and a deployed escape slide ripped away from it.
“It is particularly dangerous during landing and takeoff, so someone from the flight staff should have stopped that passenger,” said Sohn Myong-hwan, a professor at South Korea’s Sehan University’s aviation maintenance department.
“To me, it seems difficult for the airline can get away from any potential responsibility here,” he said.