Some people on board the Asiana Airlines plane tried to stop the man.

Friday, May 26, 2023, 12:52 p.m

SEOUL, South Korea – A passenger opened the emergency exit door of a plane in South Korea on Friday, causing an explosion of air inside the cabin and lightly injuring 12 people, officials said. The plane landed safely.

Several people on board the Airbus A321 of Asiana Airlines tried to stop a person who was able to partially open the door, the Ministry of Transport reported.

The man was detained by airport police on suspicion of violating aviation security legislation, the ministry said in a statement. The man’s identity and motives have not been released.

The law prohibits passengers from tampering with the exit doors and other equipment on board and carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, the ministry said.

The plane, with 194 people on board, was heading to the southeastern city of Daegu from the southern island of Jeju. Normally a flight lasting about an hour, the incident occurred as the plane approached Daegu Airport at an altitude of 700 feet (213 meters).

A video posted on social media, apparently taken by someone on board, shows some passengers’ hair being whipped by the air blowing into the cabin through the open doors.

Among the passengers were teenage athletes who were going to a track and field competition. Some were screaming and crying in panic, Yonhap news agency reported, citing their unidentified coach.

Yonhap quoted other passengers as saying they felt severe pain in their ears after opening the door. It said that some crew members shouted for help to the passengers to prevent the doors from being opened.

Twelve people were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, according to the Ministry of Transport. Emergency officials in Daegu said the victims had breathing problems and other minor symptoms.

Copyright © 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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