Airline Passenger Opens Emergency Exit Door 800 Feet From Landing, Sending Six To Hospital

A passenger managed to open the emergency exit door of Asiana flight 8124 on Friday as the 205-mile overwater domestic flight from Jeju to Daegu, South Korea was landing and the aircraft was about 820 feet above the ground.

There were 194 passengers on board the Airbus A321. Six were hospitalized on arrival. The man, in his 30s, reported tried to jump out of the aircraft.

“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,” one 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap.

“I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this,” he added.

The mother of one of the students told Yonhap: “The children were shaking, crying, and frightened.”

The perpetrator, who had been sitting in the exit row, was arrested on arrival. He hasn’t explained his motives. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this successfully done on a mainline aircraft while it was still inflight. At the low altitude, cabin pressurization would no longer stop this – but the speed of the plane alone would seem to make it difficult.

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  1. It’s astonishing that the properties of physics failed in this instance. I hope that all the passengers will recover physically and emotionally after such a traumatic ordeal. The suspect clearly needs help, though a fascinating case study from both a mental health standpoint as well as the aviation complexities. Wow!!

  2. My rule is if you open the door before the plane is at the gate, you need to also jump out after opening. Another candidate for the no-fly list.

  3. His pre-departure safety briefing never said, “Please don’t jump out of an emergency exit until the aircraft comes to a complete stop.”

    Did anyone find and return the detached inflated emergency evacuation slide to the airport?

  4. Only 800 feet up and going what 200 or so MPH

    Anyone with medical background know why people would faint or have breathing trouble other than being frightened?

  5. Why isn’t there a FA at this emergency exit door, to prevent this from happening?

  6. FAA only requires FA’s to be at major doors, very very few , if any, have jumpseats at overwing exits

  7. Here’s my (ignorant?) question/observation: I had NO idea that the mechanics of the plane itself would allow a door to be deployed open anytime before landing! There are no “built-in” safety provisions in the aircraft itself to prevent this? WOW, I never knew.

  8. The safety that prevents door opening in flight is pressurization.
    When you are close to the ground, just after take-off or just before landing, pressure has equalized and at that time doors can be opened. The same for over the wing exits.

    The issue is with hard-core drugs being so prevalent and even made legal in some states/cities, problems like that are going to become more common.

    I do see security in airports evolving to include 2 things at some point in the future:
    – weighting all passengers and their carry-on to make sure the weight&balance of planes is accurate and within limits.
    – drug & alcohol test to stop intoxicated passengers.

  9. The plane was very low, probably landing because it was on low speed. You wouldn’t be able to open this door if the plane was on cruising altitude due to pressure. Also enough air for everyone at the altitude. Very scary but was not really dangerous, maybe to the people around it. The chute could have damage the plane though, that course have been really bad.

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