A passenger opened an emergency exit door during a flight in South Korea on Friday, causing air to explode inside the cabin and slightly injuring 12 people, officials said. The plane landed safely.
A few people on board Asian Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft tried to stop the person, who was able to partially open the door, the transport ministry said.
The person was arrested by airport police on suspicion of violating the Aviation Security Act, according to a statement from the ministry. The person’s identity and motive were not immediately released.
The law prevents passengers from tampering with exit doors and other onboard equipment and carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison, the ministry said.
The plane with 194 people on board was on its way to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. The flight is normally about an hour, and the incident occurred when the plane reached Daegu Airport at an altitude of 700 feet (213 meters).
A video apparently taken by a person on board and posted on social media shows some passengers’ hair being whipped by the air blowing into the cabin through the open door.
The passengers included teenage athletes on their way to an athletics competition. Some screamed and cried in panic, Yonhap news agency reported, citing their unidentified coach.
Yonhap quoted other passengers as saying they suffered from severe earaches after the door was opened. It said some cabin crew called for help from passengers to prevent the door from opening.
Twelve people were taken to hospital for treatment, according to the Ministry of Transport. Emergency officials in Daegu said the injured were suffering from breathing problems and other minor symptoms.