The reaction is drastic. Last Friday, the passenger of a flight operated by Asiana Airlines opened an emergency exit in the middle of landing. The opening of the door 200 m from the ground caused breathing difficulties in some passengers, a dozen of them had to be transported to the hospital. To prevent this incident from happening again, the South Korean airline has decided to stop the sale of seats located near emergency exits, it announced in a statement on Monday.
This decision will apply "even when the flight is full", assures the company, evoking "a pure security measure". This concerns seats numbered 26A on 321-seat A174 aircraft and 31A on 195-seat models, i.e. those to the left of the aircraft. The seats on the right are not affected since they are already allocated to flight attendants, says Asiana Airlines.
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The "first incident of its kind"
The man who opened the emergency exit was arrested as soon as the plane landed at Daegu International Airport in South Korea. He told South Korean police he felt he was "choking" and wanted to get out of the aircraft "quickly." He told officers he was "in a state of stress after losing his job recently." He faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation safety legislation.
Asiana Airlines A321 lands safely at Daegu Airport in South Korea after the emergency exit door was opened by a passenger on approach. 9 people taken to hospital with breathing difficulties. pic.twitter.com/Jzed4PMDvc
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The aircraft was carrying nearly 200 passengers. "Fortunately, no one was seriously injured because the aircraft was in the landing phase and everyone was attached," the company said in its statement. According to a Ministry of Transport official, this is the "first incident of its kind" in the history of South Korean aviation.