A man who opened an emergency door during a flight in South Korea was formally arrested on Sunday and faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation safety laws, authorities said.
During preliminary questioning, the 33-year-old man told investigators that he felt suffocated and tried to get off the plane quickly, according to police.
Twelve people were slightly injured on Friday after he opened the door of an Asiana Airlines Airbus A321-200, causing an air blast inside the cabin and terrifying passengers. Some testified that they suffered severe earaches and saw others scream and cry. In a video shared on social media air can be seen entering the cabinThere are passengers sitting on the seats.
Normally, emergency exit doors cannot be opened during the flight due to the difference in air pressure inside and outside the aircraft. But during Friday’s incident, the man was able to open the door probably because the plane was flying low as it was preparing to land and there wasn’t much pressure difference, according to Asiana Airlines officials.
The transport ministry said the plane was at 700 feet (213 meters) when the man opened the door. The plane was preparing to land in Daegu on an hour-long flight from southern Jeju Island with 200 people on board.
On Sunday, a district court in Daegu approved a formal arrest warrant for the man. The police requested the arrest warrant, citing the seriousness of the crime and the possibility of the man fleeing.
Daegu police have up to 20 days to investigate the man before determining whether to send him to prosecutors for a possible indictment.
If you are found guiltyfaces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for violating the security law law prohibiting passengers from manipulating entry doors, emergency exit doors and other onboard equipment, according to the Transport Ministry.
Daegu police said the man, surnamed Lee, told them he was under stress after recently losing a job and wanted to get off the plane early as he felt suffocated shortly before landing.
People who were taken to the hospital were mostly treated for minor problems.
Asiana Airlines said in a statement that as of Sunday it has stopped selling emergency exit seats on its 174-seat A321-200 and 195-seat A321-200 aircraft as a precaution.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.