Asiana Airlines Stops Selling Emergency Exit Seats After A Passenger Opened the Door Mid-Flight

Asiana Airlines (KRX: 020560) has taken immediate action to halt the sale of emergency exit seats following a distressing incident on one of its flights over South Korea. 

Passengers will no longer be assigned these seats on the A321-200 aircraft models as a precautionary safety measure. The incident occurred when a passenger, seated near an emergency exit, opened the door mid-flight, causing panic and injuring 12 individuals on board. 

The 33-year-old responsible for the act stated during preliminary questioning that he felt suffocated and was attempting to disembark quickly. Witnesses reported experiencing severe ear pain, witnessing fellow passengers screaming and crying, and even feeling the rush of air blowing into the cabin, as depicted in a video circulating on social media.

New fear unlocked

The unique circumstances surrounding this incident allowed the door to be opened successfully, as the aircraft was flying at a relatively low altitude in preparation for landing, resulting in minimal air pressure difference. Normally, opening emergency exit doors mid-flight would be impossible due to the significant disparity in air pressure inside and outside the aircraft. The plane was at an altitude of 213 meters when the passenger pulled the door open. 

The flight was en route to Daegu from Jeju, carrying approximately 200 individuals, including teenage athletes traveling to a track and field competition.

South Korean court issues arrest warrant

The man responsible for the incident had his arrest warrant approved by a district court in Daegu. The police had sought the warrant due to the seriousness of the crime and the possibility of the suspect attempting to flee. 

The individual, whose identity was concealed by a black hoodie, cap, and mask, expressed remorse and apologized, particularly to the young athletes affected. Authorities now have up to 20 days to investigate the suspect before deciding whether to proceed with a possible indictment.

If convicted, he could face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for violating Aviation Security Act prohibiting passengers from tampering with entry doors, emergency exits, and other onboard equipment. 

Police revealed that the suspect, identified only by the surname Lee, claimed to be under stress after recently losing his job and that he felt suffocated just before landing, prompting his urge to exit the plane swiftly. 

The 12 passengers injured in the incident were primarily treated for minor issues such as breathing difficulties and have since been released from hospitals.

Information for this story was found via CNN, The Guardian, the Associated Press, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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