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plane passenger opens exit door during flight

South Korean Man Arrested for Opening Plane Emergency Exit Door, Faces Severe Consequences

In a shocking incident that left passengers terrified and caused minor injuries, a South Korean man was arrested for opening an emergency exit door during a flight. The 33-year-old now faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation security laws. The incident occurred on an Asiana Airlines flight, as the plane was preparing to land in Daegu. This article delves into the details of the incident, shedding light on the consequences and the motivations behind this reckless act.

In-Flight Chaos and Terrified Passengers:

The incident unfolded when the accused individual, whose identity remains protected, opened the emergency exit door of the Asiana Airlines Airbus A321-200 mid-flight. Passengers onboard endured a terrifying ordeal as a sudden rush of air blasted inside the cabin, causing chaos and panic. Witnesses reported severe ear pain, screaming, and crying among the passengers. A viral video shared on social media captures the harrowing scene, with passengers’ hair being whipped by the forceful airflow.

Unprecedented Mid-Flight Opening:

Under normal circumstances, emergency exit doors cannot be opened mid-flight due to the significant difference in air pressure inside and outside the aircraft. However, in this particular incident, the accused managed to open the door successfully. Asiana Airlines officials speculate that the plane was flying at a low altitude while preparing to land, resulting in a minimal pressure differential. This unusual situation enabled the man to carry out his reckless act.

Legal Consequences and Arrest Warrant:

The severity of the crime prompted the Transport Ministry to take immediate action. On Sunday, a district court in Daegu approved the arrest warrant for the accused. The police had sought the warrant, citing the gravity of the offense and the potential flight risk posed by the individual. If convicted, the man could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Violating the aviation security law, which prohibits passengers from tampering with entry doors, emergency exits, and other equipment onboard, carries severe penalties.

Motivation Behind the Reckless Act:

During preliminary questioning, the accused revealed that he felt suffocated and had an urgent need to disembark the aircraft. Cloaked in a black hoodie, cap, and mask, he expressed remorse for his actions, particularly acknowledging the distress caused to the teenage athletes on board who were en route to a track and field competition. The man, surnamed Lee, attributed his actions to recent job loss and the resulting stress, claiming to have felt suffocated just before landing.

Investigation and Future Proceedings:

The Daegu police now have a period of up to 20 days to conduct a thorough investigation before deciding whether to send the case to prosecutors for a possible indictment. The authorities will examine all relevant aspects of the incident, including the mental state of the accused and any potential underlying factors contributing to his actions.

Airline Precautions and Safety Measures:

As a proactive safety measure, Asiana Airlines has announced the suspension of the sale of emergency exit seats on its A321-200 planes. This temporary measure aims to prevent unauthorized access to these critical areas of the aircraft, ensuring the safety and well-being of all passengers.


The arrest of the South Korean man who opened an emergency exit door mid-flight serves as a stark reminder of the importance of aviation security. The incident not only endangered the lives of those on board but also caused panic and discomfort among passengers. As the investigation proceeds, it is crucial to understand the motives and circumstances leading to such a reckless act. The airline industry, regulators, and law enforcement agencies must continue to work together to uphold and reinforce stringent safety measures, ensuring the protection of passengers and crew members.


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