Dinner is now being served.
Asiana A321 exit door opened on approachThis incident happened today (Friday, May 26, 2023), and involves Asiana Airlines flight OZ8124, scheduled to operate the short 205-mile domestic flight in South Korea from Jeju (CJU) to Daegu (TAE). The service was operated by a roughly 11-year-old Airbus A321 with the registration code HL8256.
While the aircraft was on its final descent (at under 1,000 feet), a man in his 30s reportedly tried to open the emergency exit door. Specifically, this man was seated in the window seat at the third set of exit doors on the left. He managed to successfully open the door, which caused quite some chaos in the cabin, as you’d expect.
Fortunately no one was sucked out of the plane (since it was going at fairly slow speeds at this point, and there wasn’t a significant pressurization difference), though at least six passengers had to be hospitalized.
Witnesses onboard claim that after opening the door, the suspect tried to jump out. Flight attendants asked other passengers for help, and people seated around the exit door prevented the man from jumping out of the aircraft. It’s not clear if that was the motive, or what exactly was going on. As you’d expect, he remains in police custody.
Below you can see some video footage of the incident.
Aircraft exit doors can be opened inflight?!There’s often confusion about the ability to open emergency exit doors on an aircraft while it’s flying. It would be impossible to open an emergency exit at cruising altitude, given the pressure difference between the interior of the plane and the outside atmosphere.
While some people like to claim that you can only open emergency exit doors on the ground, that’s not quite the case on all the aircraft, as you can tell. At a lower altitude, the pressure difference isn’t as great as at 30,000+ feet, so opening the door does become a bit easier. For that matter, exit doors on the A321 are power assisted, so can be opened just by pulling the lever.
Note that on some aircraft, doors remain locked until the plane touches down. Clearly that’s not the case on the Airbus A321, though.
For what it’s worth, when you hear a flight attendant announce “arm doors for departure and cross check,” the process of “arming” the door consists of “locking it,” so that an emergency slide would deploy if the exit opens. The door can just as easily be disarmed, so that doesn’t “lock” the door and prevent others from opening it, or anything.
Bottom linePassengers on an Asiana flight in South Korea had a rather eventful approach, as a passenger seated in the exit row opened the emergency exit door before landing. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but several people were taken to the hospital.
For all the misbehavior we see on planes, this is something that’s quite rare. Witnesses claim that the man tried to jump out of the aircraft but was ultimately stopped by other passengers. It’s not yet clear if that was his motivation for opening the door, or if that was just a spur of the moment decision.
What do you make of this Asiana emergency exit situation?