'I thought I was going to die': Terrified plane passengers grip seats after man yanks open emergency door mid-flight

26 May 2023, 12:33

A man opened an emergency door on a plane mid-flight
A man opened an emergency door on a plane mid-flight. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Will Taylor

Footage shows passengers gripping their seats after a plane door opened mid-air when someone grabbed its emergency exit lever.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Wind batters them as the aircraft descends to Deagu in South Korea, where the pilot landed it safely.

Video from onboard shows the chaos as passengers' hair and clothes is buffeted in the wind while the plane comes in to land.

Distressed travellers called for help as the Asiana Airlines came in to land with the door wide open, and 12 on board had to be taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

The man was detained on board
The man was detained on board. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

It is unclear why the man, in his 30s, opened the door as the plane was some 650ft in the air.

One passenger, 44, told South Korea's Yonhap news agency: "It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board through broadcasting while others were running down the aisle in panic.

Read more: 'I don't believe that's the case': Just Stop Oil activists refuse to make way for man 'urgently heading to hospital'

"I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this."

The man who opened the door has been detained by police for questioning.

South Korea's transport ministry said some among his fellow passengers tried to stop him during Friday's incident.

The man opened the door mid-flight
The man opened the door mid-flight. Picture: Alamy

"Police are questioning him jointly with the land and transport ministry over aviation safety laws violations," it said.

"Under these laws, a person who opens a plane door without authorisation is subject to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison."

There were 194 people on board, including 48 teenage athletes who were on their way to compete in Ulsan.

Read more: Madeleine McCann detectives hunting a camera which could contain images of her and two other victims

The plane had taken off from from Jeju, off the south-west coast of Korea.

The mother of one of the young athletes said: "Children quivered and cried in panic. Those sitting near the exit must have been shocked the most."

It is thought to be the first time this kind of incident has happened in the history of Korean aviation.

Flights in the country are regarded as safe.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Britney Spears has broken her silence on her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's shock arrest as she toasted 'the little things' in life

Britney Spears breaks silence on ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's shock DWI arrest as she toasts 'little things' in life

Putin has visited North Korea

Putin and Kim share 'pent-up inmost thoughts' as Russian and North Korean leaders vow to forge 'multi-polar world'

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

Chilling words of TV star killed by British husband in final interview before tragic murder-suicide

Just Stop Oil protesters have targeted Stonehenge

Eco activists Just Stop Oil desecrate Stonehenge with orange spray in latest radical climate protest

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Sick fraudsters create fake GoFundMe page for Brit teenager missing in Tenerife

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon

Jury dismissed in trial of fugitive aristocrat Constance Marten in baby manslaughter case


Sir Ian McKellen breaks silence after horror fall from stage in front of West End audience

John Swinney Launches The SNP's General Election Manifesto

SNP vows ‘major investment’ in the NHS as it launches manifesto - read key pledges

Sunak refuses to rule out letting Nigel Farage into Tory party, says sorry on housing and defends taking cash from 'racist donor'

Sunak won't rule out letting Farage into Tory party, says sorry on housing and defends taking cash from 'racist donor'

Rishi Sunak pledges tax cuts on LBC

Sunak pledges further tax cut after inflation drops to two per cent

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Revealed: Panicked final phone call of missing Brit teenager Jay Slater who vanished in Tenerife

Justin Timberlake was arrested on a drink-drive charge in the Hamptons after a night out, police said.

Cop who arrested Justin Timberlake had ‘no idea who he was’ as star said ‘this is going to ruin the tour’

Rishi Sunak speaks exclusively to LBC

Rishi Sunak vows to serve as a backbencher for five years if Tories lose the election

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, billionaire co-owner of Manchester United, and Phones4U tycoon John Caudwell

'Only billionaires can afford Starmer's tax hikes' blasts Sunak

Rishi Sunak says Brits 'don't have to worry' about Tories cutting disability benefits if he wins election

Rishi Sunak says Brits 'don't have to worry' about Tories cutting disability benefits if he wins election

Rishi Sunak has said he is “excited” for his daughters to do national service

Sunak reveals his daughters are 'excited' to do National Service - certainly more than 'learning maths until 18'